As he suffered defeat in the second round of Wimbledon, Andy Murray was described by his victorious opponent, John Isner, as ‘one of the greatest players ever’ but given years of injury, including surgery to resurface his hip and the fact he hasn’t reached a grand slam semi-final since 2017, it leaves us with a question. Is he?
Murray was an incredibly promising youngster, winning the junior US open, and after turning professional in 2005 he became British No.1 in 2006 after defeating Lleyton Hewitt to claim his first ATP title.
Murray continued to soar in the professional game reaching both the top ten in 2007 and his first major final in the US Open in 2008. He may have been beaten in straight sets by Federer but this was a sign of the potential of the young Scot. Murray would show a level of consistency, particularly in Grand Slams reaching five semi-finals and two finals between 2009 and 2011, but the elusive Grand Slam win evaded him.
That was until 2012, Murray’s finest year as a professional. He reached the Australian Open final for the third time in four years, the quarter finals of the French open and notably the final of Wimbledon.
This made him the first British male to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938 and although he lost in four sets to Roger Federer, 2012 was still a year of victory for Murray.
He returned to Wimbledon within a few weeks for the London Olympics, claiming gold in the Men’s Singles, avenging his Wimbledon final defeat by beating Federer in straight sets. Andy would go on to claim his first Grand Slam by defeating Novak Djokovic in the US Open and become the first Brit to win a Grand Slam final since Fred Perry in 1936. He finished the year as the No.3 player.
Arguably the highlight of Murray’s career would come the following year, in which he not only made it to the Wimbledon final once again but managed to overcome Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become the first British men’s singles winner of Wimbledon since 1938 and put himself into the history books.
He would go onto win the British tournament again in 2016 and win a second Olympic gold in the same year. Murray ended the year as No.1 in the rankings, and he was the first British man to reach that level since rankings were brought into tennis in 1973.
After receiving a knighthood in 2017, Murray’s career was beset by injuries, most notably of which was from his hip.
He underwent a first round of hip surgery in 2018 and although he returned to competitive tennis, he was still plagued by injury. The hip injury continued to blight him and brought the worry of early retirement. As a result, he underwent a resurfacing of his hip, which would allow him a better quality of life and a potential to play again.
Since then, Murray has returned to the professional game. Although he hasn’t reached the same heights, understandably so, as his previous days, he has certainly had a career to remember.
There can be no doubt that he has suffered from the pure misfortune of playing in the same era as Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, who are three of the greatest players of all time. Nevertheless, Murray has won three Grand Slams in that time, and beaten Djokovic 11 times, Federer 11 times and Nadal seven times. It would be unfair to compare Andy Murray to these three, but instead his success in their time shows what an exceptional tennis player he was and is.