Moment that mattered: Andy Murray wins the Wimbledon men’s singles championship
I had initially wanted Andy Murray to lose. In part it was because I was working for Fred Perry at the time. Every year when Wimbledon came around, the newspapers would talk about Fred Perry being the last British man to win and it was great for the brand. It was one of those facts that reminded people of the company’s roots in sport, even though it has since become more linked to music and fashion. It was a bit like England not having won the World Cup since 1966 – no one thought it was going to change. And when Murray won, it meant the end of that annual remembrance.
Fred Perry was an English legend, a quintessential working class hero. If you look at his heritage, he opened the Beverly Hills tennis club and played with Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin; he used to go out with Bette Davis and Marlene Dietrich – he was a proper old school gent with a huge personality. Murray, meanwhile, was always seen to be a bit dour.
This image probably wasn’t his fault. Despite all the hype around him when he first came on the tour, he didn’t win a major until the US Open last year. He focused entirely on winning a Grand Slam and sometimes he came across as quiet in interviews. If you’ve got that driven personality and you don’t win, you sometimes come across as if you’ve got no personality.
He has come out of his shell since the win. There was the lap of honour, the talk shows: he is coming across a lot better. Part of that is just the effect of having succeeded – everyone loves a winner. He’s also signed to a big agency and I’m sure they’re helping to shape things. The change started last year when he cried after his defeat by Federer, a huge moment in terms of humanising him and it made for a great story – dour Scottish man finds humility in defeat and then comes back to win. But I still can’t see a whole brand being built around Andy Murray in the way it was around Fred Perry. I don’t think any tennis star is that big any more.
It wasn’t until the final set – when he looked like he was going to throw it all away – that I finally started to cheer for Murray, despite my long-held opposition. That’s the thing I love about sport, the way it inspires allegiance in you without you even noticing. I’m glad he eventually brought me round, even if I was one of the last people in Britain to start cheering.
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