Andy Murray: a word on monkeys & success
I wanted to say something about Andy Murray. About how he has not been generally liked. About how he has grown up in front of us from a callow and moody teen, to something approaching a net monster hulking over his opponent, when he is in the zone.
I wanted to say that he is, by his own admission, still beset with doubt about his ability, and that that, even last night at Flushing Meadow, rears its ugly head often enough to affect his game. But, not as much as before.
And I wondered why that was. Is it to do with his new coach, Ivan Lendl, someone whose disposition on court was not dissimilar to Murray’s. Someone who was not much of a favourite with the crowds, again like Murray over the years. Or is it something to do with Murray’s new maturity, both physically and mentally. There is no doubt that Andy Murray, a survivor of the Dunblane massacre as a primary school boy, has the mental toughness of a mahogany tree, but he is human and it is not inviolable. I like Murray for that, it makes him human.
I also wondered about Team GB. Did being part of something bigger than himself in the Olympics allow Murray the freedom to play without the incredible pressure that always comes around at Wimbledon. I can only think that it had a positive effect. Once the public monkey was off his back, it being too busy with track medal obsessions, Murray was able to start pushing his own, very stubborn clinging monkey off as well, and that was the breakthrough. It is the breakthrough we all need when we are struggling to get where we want to be. I am glad Murray has had his, finally. I think this is just the start for him.
It’s funny: the combination of his own dour Scottishness, a stony-faced former Czech player, and being part of a team that some Scots might long to be free from, Team GB, all of these things have acted as catalysts for Murray to finally achieve a dream that seems to have taken nearly forever. For the British public it is 76 years since our last Grand Slam winner, for Murray, well, who knows, but most of his 25 years one suspects. I hope he enjoys it. Something hard won is probably worth a little more to the person who suffered long and hard for it. I suspect the British public can identify with that too.
See Murray sharing something of how it has felt here.