Britain’s greatest tennis player, Andy Murray, has been awarded the title of Scottish Sportsperson of the Year for 2016 at the Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards, in Edinburgh. This is the third time he has picked up the accolade in his distinguished career. His first in 2012, awarded as a joint prize with Sir Chris Hoy, came as a result of his Olympic victory in London, and his second in 2013, the year Murray claimed his first Wimbledon title. This season has seen Murray claim both those titles once more, so perhaps inevitably he was honoured as Scotland’s most treasured athlete once again this year. Looking forward, Murray also looks in good shape to retain the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award he won last year, even with strong Olympic competition following the Rio Games this summer.
Murray has been in sterling form this year and in July won his second Wimbledon title, securing the final in straight sets against Canada’s Milos Raonic. The Scot himself would admit that Wimbledon is the greatest prize. The tournament is something that both he and British fans take most satisfaction in him winning. Not only did Murray triumph at Wimbledon, he did so convincingly, only dropping two sets throughout the fortnight, both against Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the quarter-final.
Murray followed up the Wimbledon victory with gold in the Rio Olympics in August. In a thrilling final match against Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, Murray succeeded against the will of the crowd and cemented his place in tennis history. The Olympic gold in tennis is becoming more prestigious among the elites of the game, and is perhaps soon to be regarded as highly as a grand-slam victory. By the time of the next Olympics in 2020 it will have been 12 years since someone other than Murray stood on the podium to pick up the men’s singles gold medal. Just as in 2012, Murray rode the crest of the Olympic wave, benefitting from and adding to Team GB’s wider success.
Disappointment this term came in the form of Davis Cup defeat with Great Britain against Argentina in the semi-final, but that was only after Murray led Team GB to their first tournament victory since 1936 in November 2015. He also added another Australian Open runners-up medal to his collection. Additionally, Murray became the first Briton since 1937 to reach the French Open final at Roland Garros, going on to lose to Novak Djokovic. All these successes point to an increased consistency in Murray’s game. He still maintains the ferocity which fuels his always good return of serve, but also leads to evident frustration when things don’t go his way. His serving has become much more of a weapon however, resulting in his frequent presence in major finals.
Not only has Murray’s tennis improved but his reputation and image in the public has also risen. The Scot has been seen as divisive at times in the past, but Murray now finds himself one of the most decorated and popular Britons throughout sport. Although Murray is much celebrated throughout Britain, his carrying of the Union Jack at the Olympic ceremony was a highlight in his career, he remains particularly appreciated in Scotland. He has made no secret that he wants to be know as Scottish first and British second throughout his playing days and time in front of the media, and the gracious acceptance of such an award only serves to heighten his popularity in his home country.