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Top 10 Andy Murray moments

Hannah Wilks in News 11 Jan 2019
  • Andy Murray has announced his retirement is imminent
  • The three-time Grand Slam champion has had a huge impact on the sport
  • We look back at the ten finest moments of his career
Andy Murray in action at Wimbledon in 2016 (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Andy Murray is retiring - here are the top 10 greatest moments of his career.

Fans, fellow players and media were all devastated on Friday when former world no. 1 Andy Murray admitted that his retirement from professional tennis is imminent.

In a tearful press conference ahead of the Australian Open, Murray said that he had hoped to end his career at Wimbledon - scene of so many of the most iconic moments of his tennis-playing life - but his hip injury had left him doubtful that he would be able to keep going that long.

Murray was not the only one with a tear in his eye as he admitted that he struggles to even put his shoes or socks on without pain. 

Tributes to the man who ended Great Britain's 76-year-long wait for a male Grand Slam champion have already begun to pour in from all directions, with many emphasizing the determination, talent and resilience it took to be one of the best in an era which has been dominated to an unprecedented extent by three of the greatest players of all time, while others point to Murray's advocacy for equal rights and his willingness to be outspoken in support and recognition of his female colleagues.

To remind ourselves and you of just how much Murray has achieved, at the cost of his fitness and who knows what other personal sacrifices, we're looking back at ten of the greatest moments of Andrew Barron Murray's tennis career.

Andy Murray celebrates victory at the SAP Open in San Jose in 2006 (Photo by Sara Wolfram)

1. Murray beats Lleyton Hewitt to win his first title

For many tennis fans, this was their first introduction to a man who would be at or near the top of the game for much of the next decade: A scrawny, gangling Scottish teenager with a puffball second serve and unmanageable hair, ranked outside the top 50, who backed up a semifinal victory over then-world no. 3 Andy Roddick by defeating former world no. 1 and two-time Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt to win his first ATP Tour title in San Jose.

The victory was particularly notable for two things: The sheer bloody-mindedness with which Murray outran, outfought and ground down Hewitt, and the fact that he celebrated by climbing into the stands to kiss new girlfriend Kim Sears, who would be his partner for the rest of his career. Murray and Sears married in 2015 and have two daughters.

Andy Murray shows off his bicep after beating Richard Gasquet in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2006 (KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)

2. Wimbledon 2008, Richard Gasquet and THAT celebration

'Scrawny' would never again be an epithet that could be applied to Andy Murray, and he proved it - and demonstrated how crazy he could drive the staid Wimbledon crowds - with one epic match at The Championships in 2008.

Murray had often been criticized for a perceived lack of fitness - memorably throwing up on court during a US Open match in 2005 and cramping badly during a Wimbledon match against David Nalbandian in 2006 - and had missed the previous year's Wimbledon (which saw brother Jamie win the mixed doubles with Jelena Jankovic). When he went two sets down against the accomplished ninth seed Richard Gasquet in the fourth round, many were rolling their eyes and preparing to turn off their TVs. Those who stuck with the match instead saw something truly special as Murray came back from two sets down, showcasing his improved physical fitness and stamina as he outplayed and outlasted Gasquet. 

At one point Murray showcased the unbelievable footspeed that would become one of his trademarks, chasing down a drop shot from the French player and returning it for a winner, pumping his fists and roaring even as he teetered precariously on the edge of the photographers' pit. That moment, and the defiant flash of his bicep that followed match point, was the true beginning of the British public's relationship with Murray.

Andy Murray hangs his head during the Wimbledon men's final in 2012 (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

3. 'I'm going to try this, but it's not going to be easy.'

It's tempting to focus solely on Murray's triumphs - but his career has been shaped and defined by having to compete with three of the greatest players of all time as they enjoy unprecedented dominance and longevity in the sport. 

Murray could have carved out a lucrative and enjoyable career as a top-20, even top-10 player and British no. 1 without putting himself through the physical and mental agony of trying to transform himself into the most effective player he could be. Instead he expected the absolute best from himself - and in the process, shouldered the burden when the public and the media expected the absolute best from him too.

Murray's relentless pursuit of excellence in the era of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic meant that he had to keep putting himself in position to win the biggest titles - and then picking himself up when he fell short. This is exemplified by five runner-up finishes at the Australian Open - four of them would come to Novak Djokovic, and one, the first, to Roger Federer, when Murray showed how much it meant to him (and displayed his dry, self-deprecating humour) when he began his runner-up speech with 'I can cry like Roger, it's just a shame I can't play like him ...'

It was even harder to watch at Wimbledon in 2012.

After years of patient effort, Murray finally made it to the Wimbledon final - the first British male player to do so since Bunny Austin in 1938 - and even took the first set, only to be denied in four by the supreme Roger Federer, much to the agony of so many watching.

Taking the mic on Centre Court as the runner-up, Murray's voice cracked as he started: 'I'm going to try this, but it's not going to be easy -' before welling up and being unable to continue. 

It was a signature moment, because Murray's open, emotional response to defeat let the nation see just how he cared - something that wasn't necessarily always apparent to the casual viewer. The British public embraced Murray much more wholeheartedly from that point onwards.

It isn't why this is memorable, but Murray also promised in his speech that he was 'getting closer' - and that proved to be true in dazzling fashion.

Murray with his gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics (LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)

4. Golden glory

A few weeks later, Murray was back on Centre Court facing Roger Federer once more - but this time it would all be different.

It would be a case of 'revenge is a dish best served ... gold' as Murray defeated Novak Djokovic 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals and then Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the final to claim the gold medal in men's singles at the London 2012 Olympics. 

Murray played a big part in what has often been described as the greatest ever weekend of British sport, with Jess Ennis and Mo Farah among others going on to claim historic gold medals, and also claimed the silver in mixed doubles with Laura Robson.

Murray meets with fans in Dunblane (Ian MacNicol/AFP/GettyImages)

Murray was feted in his home town of Dunblane, a town mainly known for the horrific school massacre that occurred there in 1996. Both Murray and his brother were in school at the time with Murray hiding under a desk along with classmates as a disturbed gunman went on the rampage. It's not the least of his achievements that Murray has not only overcome such trauma, but given his community so many positive moments and experiences during his career.

Andy Murray reacts after beating Novak Djokovic to win the 2012 US Open (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

5. Finally, the Grand Slam title

Murray was right to say he was getting closer, because just a couple of months after that excruciating afternoon on Centre Court, he would be lifting a Grand Slam trophy for the very first time - the first British man to do so in 76 long years.

It didn't come easy. First he was stretched to four sets on three different occasions through the tournament - by Feliciano Lopez, Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych. Then, the two-sets lead he built up in that final against old rival Novak Djokovic evaporated as Djokovic dominated the third and fourth sets.

Murray took a bathroom break and stared at himself in the mirror, asking himself why he kept losing these finals, why he had played four Grand Slam finals before this one and only won one set. Then he told himself he wasn't going to lose this one. And he didn't, wrapping up victory with a dominant 6-2 final set.

Murray in the stands after beating Djokovic to win the Wimbledon title in 2013 (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

6. No more years of hurt

After so many years of struggle, Murray's tireless persistence, his commitment to putting himself in the right place to one day capture the biggest prize even if it meant suffering defeat after agonizing defeat, finally paid off where it mattered most - Wimbledon.

The stars aligned for Murray in 2013: Now a Grand Slam champion with that monkey off his back, he came through a fortuitous draw - not without a scare against Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals, of course - to face Djokovic (again) in the semifinals, a Djokovic, moreover, who had been pushed all the way by Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals. 

Murray with the Wimbledon trophy next to the statue of Fred Perry  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

There would be no repeat of the mammoth US Open tussle: Murray dominated, winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, although not without some trademark drama - he had to come back from 4-1 down in the second set, and needed four match points to finally close out the win in an excruciating, thrilling final game.

But he got it done - and became Great Britain's first male singles champion since Fred Perry in 1936.

7. Like brothers should

Murray's Wimbledon win in 2013 would be followed by a tough season in 2014 as Murray tried to recuperate and return to his best after back surgery in 2013 - eloquent testimony, as is his current hip injury, to the physical price he had to pay for his achievements.

But in 2015, another historical prize long denied to British players took centre stage - the Davis Cup. 

Murray committed to bringing home the Davis Cup to Great Britain, and along with the team captained by Leon Smith, that's exactly what he did. 

Of the 12 points Great Britain needed to win the Davis Cup, Murray was solely or partly responsible for 11 of them; only James Ward against the USA won another singles match, and Murray teamed up with brother Jamie to win crucial doubles rubbers against France, Australia and in the final, Belgium.

Andy and Jamie celebrate victory over Australia during the Davis Cup semifinal in 2015  (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA)

And while Murray's match-winning lob to seal Great Britain's first Davis Cup win since 1936 was one of the iconic moments, there's one that I remember even more distinctly: Andy and Jamie, two brothers from a small Scottish town who hadn't always shared the most cordial relationship or jelled together as a doubles pairing, producing a brilliant display to outlast the Australians in five sets in front of an ecstatic Glasgow crowd and afterwards sharing an exhausted, jubilant fistbump. 

'We stuck together, like brothers should,' Murray said afterwards.

Murray with the Wimbledon trophy in 2016  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

8. 'There's no f**king way I'm losing this match'

If Murray's reaction to winning the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 savoured more of relief and disbelief than jubilation, the same could not be said for his triumph at Wimbledon in 2016.

Murray said he wanted to enjoy the moment - and he did as he wrapped up a 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-6(2) victory over first-time finalist Milos Raonic.

But that wasn't to say there wasn't plenty of trademark Murray bloody-mindedness - and drama - on display, notably in his quarterfinal clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, which saw the ebullient Frenchman surge back from two sets down to drag Murray to a fifth set. During the battle, Murray looked up at his camp and said, 'There's no f**king way I'm losing this match.' He didn't. Murray in a glorious, foul-mouthed nutshell.

Murray celebrates victory at the Rio Olympics in 2016 (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)

9. Golden glory, again

It wasn't the sun-soaked breeze of London 2012 and it wasn't straightforward; it was an exhausting, sometimes ugly affair, but Andy Murray brought home another gold medal for Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Olympics - and only he knows what it cost him to do it. 

In brutal heat and humidity which had other top contenders dropping like flies, Murray withstood an early scare against Steve Johnson and dusted Kei Nishikori in the semifinals, to find himself up against Juan Martin del Potro - an old rival, an old friend and a man playing some of the most superb, unlikely tennis of his career - in the gold medal match. It took four hours of what his mother Judy called 'torture', but Murray eventually broke del Potro's will, resistance and serve and secured the gold. 

He also scored another one of the victories for equality he was equally becoming known for, reminding a BBC interviewer that there's more to tennis than men's achievements.

10. On top of the world (and running out of time)

Andy Murray after winning the ATP Finals in 2016  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Did Murray know - did he sense - just how numbered his days in the sport were becoming?

Because when he saw an opportunity to do one of the few things he hadn't done - get to world no. 1 - he threw caution and everything else to the winds, and pursued that goal relentlessly, putting together an incredible run of 25 victories in a row from Beijing to London which saw him end the season at the absolute pinnacle of the sport, having defeated Novak Djokovic in the final of the season-ending championships to claim his first title there. 

It was one last, glorious, dogged flowering of the brilliance that was Andy Murray at the top of his form, and those who were lucky enough to see it will never forget it.


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Top 10 Andy Murray moments

As Andy Murray admits that his tennis career is drawing to a close, we look back at 10 of the most iconic moments of his brilliant sporting career, from winning his first ATP title to tears on court at Wimbledon to becoming no. 1 in the world

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