Andy Murray is a great player: 2 Grand Slams, Olympic Gold, 12 Masters titles, and a career high ranking of #2, hardly too shabby! It’s that time of year again where Great Britain gets obsessed with the tennis and if you’re like me and live here and not an Andy Murray fan you’re probably a bit fed up of hearing about him non-stop. Why, you may ask? That’s simply to do with how the media portrays the world #2 and I will show you exactly how they’ve done it from the last few months alone, despite this going on for years.
While there’s no doubt Murray is the best British player to grace a tennis court in the Open Era, we are at the time of year where the bias for the Brit simply goes over the top. Only last week at Queens during a rain delay all the presenters would talk about is Andy Murray, Andy Murray, and you guessed it, Andy Murray. During a lengthy rain delay early in the tournament the presenters spent 40 minutes talking about mainly the British #1 before finally mentioning that Novak Djokovic holds all 4 Grand Slams, one of the biggest achievements ever achieved in our sport.
The Ridiculous British Bias for Andy Murray
We can move onto how commentators on several TV channels treat Andy Murray’s opponents. Only last week in the Queens final Milos Raonic, a fellow top 10 player, led Andy Murray 7-6 3-0. It wasn’t long before Murray broke back but at this stage in the match the focus was on how Murray had “lost concentration”, and obviously when he broke back he had regained it according to the BBC commentators. My point is anyone who watched the match would have seen just how good the Canadian was for a set and half, bombing huge serves and hitting winner after winner. This however was barely touched on with all the focus on Murray’s level.
Unfortunately it happens often and, despite his opponents often not getting enough respect, it often gets even worse if they beat the 2013 Wimbledon Champion. Just a few weeks ago world #1 Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray in yet another major final between the pair, after the match the focus was on how Djokovic played great to win his maiden Roland Garros title. For those who watched the match it was fairly clear that Djokovic hadn’t done anything special in that final. It’s not the first time it’s happened either, a lot of the time when the Brit is beaten the commentators always bring up how his opponent played “out of their mind” or “one of their best matches ever”.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse we just need to look at times where the commentary during a Murray match gets absolutely disgusting. Just a few months ago when Murray played 14 time champion Rafael Nadal, one of the biggest stars in sport, when Andy Murray hit a pass to break the Spaniard near the end of the match a Sky Sports commentator shouted “YES!!!” only for it to be called out. After the Brit would go onto win Rome just a few weeks later the BBC would then write an ridiculous article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/36330267) about if Andy Murray was the new king of clay, despite upto that point never having even made a Roland Garros final. Not disrespectful at all to Rafael Nadal, a man with 9 Roland Garros titles, Stan Wawrinka the defending Roland Garros champion, or Novak Djokovic with all his achievements on the surface over the last few years.
2 slams, that’s what Murray has. In contrast, Djokovic has 12, Nadal 14, and Federer 17, so why is it Murray is always considered in the same category as those men in the UK? Whether the Big 4 ever existed is up to you but achievement wise you would have to be an idiot to even compare this year’s #2 Wimbledon seed to the other 3. Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer have all been world #1s at a point in time, have many more Masters wins, more titles, and have won more slams in a year than Andy Murray ever has. If we look at World #5 Stan Wawrinka, we find he has won 2 slams since 2014, more than anyone not named Djokovic, yet we don’t see anyone comparing and considering him with the others, and that’s because like Murray he isn’t up their achievement wise with them. It’s tiring hearing from the British how Murray is among the other three, because simply putting it, he’s not.
“Greatest British sportsman ever” is another quote that has been mentioned. Without looking into it too much, I think you’ll find someone like Rory McIlroy who has been world #1 in his sport with 4 majors has an argument against it, or even Lewis Hamilton with three Formula 1 World Championships may disagree, among countless others.
Like I’ve said earlier Andy Murray is a great tennis player with a great career that’s only going to get better, but the bias goes over the top over here making him out to be something he is not. At the same time like I’ve mentioned others don’t get the credit they deserve and respect too because of this. In the Wimbledon’s men draw there are 128 players to begin with, the focus shouldn’t just be on one. If it is, however, then Novak Djokovic starts Wimbledon looking to become the first player in the Open Era ever to win 5 consecutive slams; if anything the limelight should be on him, the defending champion, not someone who hasn’t won a Grand Slam in 3 years and gets the attention just because of his nationality.