Can Murray’s success take British tennis to the next level?

– Andy Phillips contributed to this report.

This past summer has given us a number of sporting heroes. From Jessica Ennis and her heptathlon victory to Bradley Wiggins and his record breaking triumph in the cycling, we’ve had plenty of success to enjoy. However, one man that has really used this summer to elevate himself to the next level is Andy Murray.

As well as a Grand Slam win, Andy Murray also reached a Wimbledon final and won both a gold and silver medal at the Olympics this year. Photo: Marianne Bevis

Murray capped off this summer with his first Grand Slam win, the US Open, defeating Novak Djokovic in a five set, five hour marathon. This was the first time a male Brit had won a Grand Slam in 76 years and added to an already impressive year where he reached the Wimbledon final and won both a gold and silver medal at the Olympics.

This country has always had a love-hate relationship with Murray but, regardless of what you think of him, it’s hard to deny the talent the man has or the amount of effort he has put in to achieve his dreams. Despite losing four Grand Slam finals in a row, he has stuck at it and managed to bridge the gap between himself and the players in front of him.

Having someone like Murray do so well has the potential to be huge for the sport in this country. Tennis has always had a little bit of an elitist image over here. It has often been considered to be a sport for the middle class and, whilst that opinion has started to wear off as the years have gone by, it’s still there.

For the sport to really take off, it really has to shed that image completely. Football is the most popular sport in the world because it appeals to people from all sorts of backgrounds and this is something that tennis could learn a lot from.

So many people over here only really pay attention to the sport during Wimbledon, which only lasts for two weeks a year. This is despite the fact that both the ATP and WTA have gruelling schedules throughout the year.

When you consider that, it’s really no surprise that it took so long for a male British player to win that elusive Grand Slam or that there seems to be very few players from this country that are on the way up.

The sport has never really been unpopular, far from it in fact, but it hasn’t always captured the imagination of people and make them want to go out and pick up a racket, which is what is needed.

That is where Murray comes in. In an age where athletes are expected to be role models, you really can’t look for a better example of one than him. The problem a lot of people have him with is that he’s not particularly flashy.

He hasn’t got an overbearing personality and he isn’t always comfortable when talking to the media. Some people might say that he’s boring. I respectfully disagree. I say that he’s real – and the sport needs more of that.

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