Posts Tagged ‘Maria Sharapova’

As a nation we are generally very scathing of many of our sporting stars, the England football team being a prime example. But when they do their absolute best, exceed our expectations and inspire us with their dedication to being the best we embrace them, take them to our hearts and shout loud enough for the whole world to hear how very proud of them we are.


Never was this more true than in the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and I thought nothing could exceed the euphoria I felt upon witnessing so many amazing athletes achieve their ambitions and win so many medals in front of their home crowd but, while I’ll never forget 2012, I was wrong.


I’m not a lover of sport. I don’t take much interest in football (soccer for those of you across the pond), have little understanding of cricket and none of rugby. I watch the occasional F1 Grand Prix because they’re fast cars and I do love a fast car but the one sport I do understand is tennis.


I hadn’t thought much about Wimbledon in the run up to the tournament but then on the first day I happened to sit down and watch Steve Darcis beat Rafa Nadal in straight sets. I love an underdog and after that bombshell of a match, the seeded players just kept falling, Venus Williams, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova to name but a few, and my interest was piqued.


There was a lot of hype around Andy Murray this year. There always is but it felt different, he was different. This year was his year they said. I watched a programme about him the night before the tournament started and was surprised to find that this seemingly dour and slightly gruff individual who lost in the Wimbledon final last year to Federer but then went on to beat him and win an Olympic Gold medal on the same court a few weeks later was actually fascinating and had so much more about him than I realised.


I found that he is dedicated to being the best he can possibly be, willing to put his body through things that to me seem like torture, and I found him to be quiet, modest and inspirational. I hadn’t known that he was from Dunblane nor had I realised the significance of this until I watched him try to talk about what happened there on camera. It was heartbreaking and I admit it made me cry. I found myself crying again when they showed him accepting the Wimbledon runner-up trophy last year where he broke down on court. I finally understood what winning Wimbledon meant to him.


So, with seeded players dropping like flies, I put all my energy into watching Andy Murray play his way to the final. There were a few dicey moments but he never really looked like he was prepared to lose. He looked like a machine, highly tuned, and prepared to fight until the death for his place in the final. Just watching him play is exhausting so I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for him. He’s a hard-hitting powerhouse, relentless and doggedly determined and his matches made moving from my position in front of the TV impossible.


On Sunday I sat down in front of the TV on the hottest summer day so far this year to watch Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. I couldn’t allow myself to assume that Murray would win or lose but I was absolutely sure of one thing: while it mattered to him, it didn’t matter to me. I love him for his dedication and willpower alone – winning would simply be a happy bonus.


I screamed, whooped and yelled at the TV. I sweated and sweltered in the heat. I drank 4 pints of water! I sat on the edge of my seat and physically shook when Andy Murray served for the Championship and then nearly passed out when Djokovic fought back and Murray failed to convert his 3 championship points. But he never gave up even though it began to look like he might collapse from the heat. It was over 40C on Centre Court. When he finally won I burst into tears. The Centre Court crowd, which had been loud and completely behind Murray all the way, exploded. I think the entire nation exploded with joy and burst with pride. It took me ages to calm down. Even on Monday I was still a bit weepy when I read the news articles or saw the pictures.


For the first time in 77 years we have a British Wimbledon Men’s Singles Champion. He beat the best player in the world to achieve his dreams and he captured the hearts of a nation. A sporting hero to be proud of … my sporting hero.



Andy Murray’s dogs Maggie & Rusty show complete disdain for the Wimbledon trophy, possibly because it’s only a replica. Yes, Maggie’s on Twitter and yes it’s a genuine account (albeit not actually maintained by a dog!):


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