Andy Murray at Wimbledon is a story that has had it all. Early promise was delivered but on route to a monumental title there has been heartache, passion, dedication, care and tears.
Welcome to Wimbledon!
Murray had his first taste of tennis at Wimbledon in 2002 in the juniors at the age of 15. Murray was a wildcard and lost a close match 6-7 6-4 4-6 to Alexander Skrypko. The following year he was the 10th seed but getting over the first hurdle proved problematic falling to another qualifier in the shape of Peter Steinberger who won 6-4 6-4.
In 2004 it was a different story but it ended in the third round to Jun Woong-sun for the second seed who had a better run in the juniors.
2005 – The Main Draw
Wimbledon 2005 was a big year at Wimbledon, it was the first Grand Slam that Murray and Djokovic had both played in at the age of 18.
Murray came in as a wildcard and impressed heavily not dropping a set in his first two matches, the second of which was a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win against Radek Stepanek.
In the third round something happened that has never been repeated since in the career of Andy Murray. Murray was 7-6 6-1 up against David Nalbandian and lost in five to the Argentine, it was the first and only time that Murray has lost from two sets up in his career.
Running Rampant Against Roddick
2006 was a good follow-up from Andy, there was no hangover from him. He defeated Nicolas Massu (Dominic Thiem’s coach) in round one and in round three caused a major upset with a 7-6 6-4 6-4 win against third seed Andy Roddick who was a finalist in 2004 and 2005.
Murray’s run ended in the next round to Marcos Baghdatis but was building character and ever improving in London.
When you say to someone, Wimbledon 2008 you immediately gravitate to that final between Federer and Nadal. Murray lost to Nadal in the last eight but it was his last sixteen match which grabbed the headlines.
Murray had already seen off Fabrice Santoro and Tommy Haas earlier in the competition so had a taste of variety but a young Richard Gasquet was another tough challenge.
Richard was seeded eighth and tipped to be the next star of French tennis but he didn’t hit those early expectations and from two sets up lost control and Andy won for the first time from two sets down in his career having a couple of years prior lost from two up.
The tie-break in the third set which Murray won was soo crucial and the celebrations after winning the third set were epic. It was such a mature performance by someone who just turned 21.
These performances are rare, they don’t come around that often. It was a big win for that moment but a stepping stone in the future. It didn’t matter that Murray lost to Nadal in the next round as he had that comeback feeling on centre court and connected incredibly with a packed house and Henman Hill!
Year on year he continued to grow at SW19.
This propelled Andy to that next level, that warrior mode in a major had been activated and he went on a couple of months later to play his first major final losing to Federer in New York.
Under the Roof in 09
Murray and Wawrinka had met 7 times prior to their meeting in 2009 at Wimbledon. Murray lead the head to head 4-3 against Stan and it proved a memorable night of tennis on centre court.
Punishing rallies and relentless rain meant it was the first match begun and completed under the Wimbledon roof.
It was just before twenty to eleven at night becoming the latest Wimbledon finish time after an incredible 3 hours and 56 minutes of incredible indoor grass court tennis.
Murray dropped the opener 2-6 but rallied quite quickly winning back to back sets 6-3 before losing a close fourth 5-7. A fifth set followed late into the night but it was another 6-3 set for Murray who once again at such a young age delivered on the biggest stage.
The next three years became a case of so near yet so far for Murray who lost in the semi-finals on three consecutive occasions.
Andy Roddick got his revenge from the 2006 defeat against a 19 year old Murray and it was Rafael Nadal in 2010 and 2011 who found form on the grass to beat Murray on route to his 2010 title and as runner-up the following year.
Murray’s ability to bounce back has always been incredible. He never gave up and then shapes champions. Sandwiched between these three consecutive semi-final defeats was two Australian Open final defeats. In 2011 alone he lost in three Grand Slam semi-finals and one final in Melbourne. The bounce back at the highest level with the most fierce competition is outstanding.
The Tears of 2012
2012 was an opportunity. Djokovic and Federer were on the other side of the draw and Nadal in Murray’s half had gone out to Lukas Rosol in round two.
Murray had a tricky draw himself but orchestrated a difficult path to his first Wimbledon final.
Marin Cilic brings solidity on serve and a tough nut to crack but after a tight first set Murray cruised in three. David Ferrer on a tennis court screams tenacity and always gave it all against the best. Three tie-breaks were played, the first went the way of the Spaniard and that would be that for Ferrer with Murray going onto win 6-7 7-6 6-4 7-6.
Next up for a place in the final was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Jo brings flair, creativity and a strong personality to the court. He wins people over and had plenty of history at Wimbledon but like Murray in 2011 his run ended in the final four with Murray winning in four.
First set Murray in his first Wimbledon final against Federer. The second set was soo close and after it became the “what if?” set. Murray lost it 5-7 and from there on in it was one way traffic and the pain was there once again with Murray breaking down into tears at the trophy presentation.
At this point Murray was 0-4 in Grand Slam finals and 4-6 in Grand Slam semi-finals. How could he bounce back so quickly?
Not only did he go onto beat Djokovic and Federer at Wimbledon but in Olympic competition but won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2012 and despite being two sets up against Djokovic he needed five to secure a major on his fifth attempt.
Heart in Mouth Moment…
By day 4, Federer and Nadal had gone out and opportunity knocked again.
I remember the stress of a quarter final like never before. Two sets down to Fernando Verdasco and silence and shocked spread from Centre Court to everyones living room.
A 2008 style turnaround was required and my god was it delivered!! All that had gone on prior to the event with heartbreak last year and then relief in New York followed by another Australian Open final defeat but he pulled it together and closed out a tight five set fightback winning the final set 7-5 to see another semi-final which he won in four against Jerzy Janowicz.
Worth the Wait!
A new opponent for Andy at the 2013 Wimbledon final. 2012’s loss to Federer was heartbreaking but the win against Djokovic in New York boosted the Brit’s chances at defeating the Serb once more.
It was a scorching day, I spent the whole match on the edge of my seat. I didn’t move, eat or drink I was transfixed by what was about to unfold.
The intensity was different to last year, it felt like it was going to happen but we had been there before…
The tennis world was watching, the sporting world and many names from Hollywood arrived for a blockbuster of a Wimbledon final which concluded with a 77 year wait for a male Wimbledon singles champion.
Throughout Andy’s career to this moment he built up his character and presence on court. When it got tight towards the end of the match he never lost focus and went off the rails, he stayed in the moment and on the big points and kept the control of the match in his grasp.
The improvement in his game took him to these levels. Ivan Lendl helped Murray find that bite behind his forehand as well as his backhand
6-4 7-5 6-4, Wimbledon champion
Wimbledon title No.2!
2016 was a similar story.
The main problem for Andy was Tsonga. A five set thriller from two sets up was needed to keep the Frenchman at bay and those two sets he dropped against Jo in the final eight turned out to be the only two he dropped all fortnight at Wimbledon.
The dominance against Berdych and the solidity in the tie-breaks against Raonic showed what a champion he is in a season which ended on a 25+ match win streak, world number one and winner at the ATP Finals.
The Hip Issue
In the final eight it looked like a good path for Murray to another Wimbledon final. Up two sets to one against Sam Querrey something just didn’t seem right.
Murray stopped moving, he was limping around the court and having witnessed heartache before for Murray at Wimbledon this was one of the toughest seeing him unable to move and won just two of the last fourteen games.
Hip surgery left Murray fighting to make a comeback and missed 8 of the next 10 Grand Slam events.
Shutting down Sexism
Following his defeat to Sam Querrey in 2017 in his post match interview Murray was asked a question by a reporter but quickly correct him. Murray was asked:
“Andy, Sam is the first US player to reach a major semi-final since 2009. How would you describe the…”
Murray at this point interrupted the journalist and replied:
The journalist replied “I beg your pardon?”
Murray again… “Male player, right?”
Journalist finished with “yes, first male player. That’s for sure”
Time and time again Murray stands up for what is right and standing up for women’s tennis. He shuts down any sexism, sets an example and is a much needed voice in sport and equality.
In 2019 he returned to Wimbledon but in doubles. His partnership with Herbert didn’t last long but a great moment was that of Andy and Serena teaming up.
Two great Wimbledon champions coming together for mixed doubles is something we don’t see enough of in the modern era but it was fantastic. Murray has always supported Serena and been a big voice for equality in sport and to see them team up and have fun and win was fantastic. Nicole Melichar and Bruno Soares ended their journey but it was one for the history books and was key to Murray getting match rhythm.