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Andy Murray, Seventy-Seven: My Road to Wimbledon Glory
Release date: 18th November, 2013
Our Price: £7.20
You Save: £12.8 (64%)
Good jokes always bear repetition and even the taciturn, tousle-haired teenager must have forced a grin the first time a voice in the frustrated crowd at SW19 yelled in his direction: "C’mon, Tim!"
From the moment he first emerged as Britain’s next great white hope, Andy Murray was inevitably compared with his predecessor Tim Henman.
The intense burden of expectation proved too much for Oxfordshire’s ‘nice boy next door’, who reached four semi-finals and four quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
For several years, and for all his natural talent, flashes of questionable temperament and sudden loss of nerve suggested the Scot might be destined to fall short too. How those cries of ”C’mon, Tim!” grated.
When Andy met Ivan everything started to change for the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year elect, and if you need reminding of how many years it is since a British tennis player previously won the Wimbledon men's crown, there it is in the title.
We will never know whether Murray would have made it all the way to the top without Lendl.
And while he is prepared to concede: ”I made the right call in December 2011, I couldn’t have done this without him, we have become an excellent partnership,” the world No.4 is not shy claiming he feels he has been equally good for the Czech, a man who won eight Grand Slams.
Witness these comments: "Ivan might do a great job with me and not do so well if he moves on to someone else one day,” and ”It’s nice for him to be around people in the sport again. I think he’s enjoyed that because he was away from the scene for a long time.”
Murray doesn’t do modesty – false or otherwise. But then he’s got a great deal to be proud of.
This is a beautifully illustrated heavyweight work, benefiting enormously from the sure hand of Neil Harman, The Times tennis correspondent.
Murray was on fire this year and the point is reinforced by the jacket photograph of him holding a flaming racket.
Now that the monkey is off his back, Murray should be able to relax and achieve more.
He hedges his bets, however: ”For the most part I’m happy never to have to deal with that kind of expectation again. I think that should help me, but I have always played my best tennis when there has been additional pressure so you never know.”
When the chips are down, it will be Lendl’s job to re-emphasise what Murray appreciates: ”When you become a professional it isn’t about enjoying yourself any more. it's about winning.”
Murray’s life has been forensically examined in the wake of his gold medal performance at the 2012 Olympics, followed by glory at the US Open and then Wimbledon.
And there are few startling revelations here. Best simply to kick back this winter, feel the warmth of that blazing racket and relive the year of his life.
Let’s have another Wimbledon crown next summer. "C’mon, Andy!”
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