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Coming of Age By Andy Murray

Release date: 07th February, 2010
Publisher: Arrow Books

List Price: £9.99
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Coming of Age
By Andy Murray
Arrow Books

Sportsbookofthemonth.com price: £ 5.47 saving 32% on rrp

Though the publishers probably expected Andy Murray to do well in this month's Australian Open when they released Coming of Age in paperback just before Christmas, few of them could have believed that by the end of January, he would be on the cusp of becoming Britain's first male tennis major winner for more than 70 years.

Unless you've been on Mars for the past couple of days, you will know that Murray has an opportunity to claim his first major crown in Melbourne on Sunday, although readers of this thoughtful book's hardback version may have been able to predict that he was within touching distance of achieving something very special.

It's less than five years since Murray arrived on the world tennis stage at Wimbledon and secured two impressive victories over George Bastl and Radek Stepanek. Back in 2005, Murray was a brash, scruffy teenager (for which he's been long forgiven) and Tim Henman ruled British tennis, yet once he won his first ATP title at San Jose in 2006, he was en route to deposing Henman to become British number one.

Britain's sporting public crave success and, as Murray's persona has mellowed (a development that has not affected his aggressive playing style), so the public have grown to love him. Victory on Sunday would enable him to join the ranks of this nation's sporting greats.

Coming of Age traces his rapid development as a professional athlete, but for those worried that this book is just an opportunity to cash in on his fame, fear not.

It offers the best account to date (bear in mind the boy is only in his early twenties) of what drives a man in a football-mad country to pursue success in a sport that has always been burdened with a rather effete, toffee-nosed image. When married to his God-given ability, Murray's determination and drive always meant he would succeed at whichever sport he applied himself to, but even as a youngster, he stood out on a tennis court simply because he was so good.

Since then, he's gone from strength to strength, bagged several ranking titles and lost one major final. Even if (whisper it) he does not emerge victorious on Sunday, his time will come.

But Murray has already had a massive affect upon British tennis; he has re-ignited widespread interest in the game and crucially, inspired a whole generation of youngsters to become involved in it. Furthermore, he's done this virtually single-handed.

Barring injury, Murray could become Britain's greatest-ever tennis player, but as he emphasises here, it's crucial that the country's tennis authorities capture the inevitable wave of interest in the game if it is to establish itself as a mass-participation sport. He has a point; let's hope for a championship- winning one on Sunday.


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