Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Born Showman Outshines Tim; Andrew Murray Lived Up to All the Hype with a Dazzling Display but the 18-Year-Old Won't Be Happy until He's Proved Himself with a Grand Slam Win. by Ian Chadband

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Born Showman Outshines Tim; Andrew Murray Lived Up to All the Hype with a Dazzling Display but the 18-Year-Old Won't Be Happy until He's Proved Himself with a Grand Slam Win. by Ian Chadband

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN CHADBAND

IF THIS really was the predictable end of the Tim Henman era and the startling new dawn of the all-Scottish wonder boy at the All England, then Andy Murray was far too downbeat and respectful to acknowledge the fact here at Wimbledon.

Days rarely arrive like this where a national obsession with one sports hero gives way almost seamlessly to a love affair with a new young gun.

Yet after his staggering second-round triumph made Henmania suddenly seem like yesterday's cult, not the least of many impressive things about Murray was the way he chose this moment of his arrival to salute British tennis's fading leader so poignantly.

"I think what Tim's done at Wimbledon has been unbelievable and he doesn't get enough credit for it," said Murray, reflecting on the surreal feeling that, following Henman's five-set exit to Russian Dmitry Tursunov, it is now himself, an 18-year-old absolute beginner, who is probably going to be strutting onto Centre Court tomorrow for the first time with a nation weighing down on his skinny shoulders.

Yet when Murray was asked if one day he would be satisfied to have accumulated a record of achievement as fine as Henman's at Wimbledon, he gave the telling response: "Yes . . . but only as long as I won one of the other grand slams."

You know this kid really believes he will. Wimbledon? It's just part of his grand plans. While the last embers of competitive self-belief seemed to be desperately flickering inside Henman, the fire of ambition simply raged in Murray for all to see.

He thinks nothing is beyond him, like going into only his sixth senior match under the nation's gaze and not just defeating but outclassing the 13th-best tennis player in the world, Radek Stepanek. Oh yes, and then calling him stupid.

Murray's 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 dismantling of a talented, streetwise tour pro in his prime was among the most staggering breakthrough performances I've seen from any British debutant at a major sporting championship. Up there with Wayne Rooney's Euro 2004 domination, Justin Rose's fourth-place finish at his debut Open at Birkdale in 1998 and Amir Khan's precocious outings in the Athens Olympics boxing ring.

It was hard to believe, after his wildly theatrical performances at Queen's offered question marks over temperament rather than talent, that someone so green could play such a nerveless, perfectly executed game while imposing such intense pressure on himself.

Last night Murray was still going on about what a temper he has, yet so far his emotions on court have seemed so well harnessed that, forget the fistpumping routine, he has appeared for both of his games to be in total control of himself.

Boris Becker, who would know a bouncy, shouty teenage phenomenon when he saw one, watched Murray's bullet service returns, scudding sliced approaches and patient accuracy in the long rallies and reckoned he would put money on him winning Wimbledon within five years. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.