Reasons to Admire Andy Murray

It’s French Open time. Paris in the spring time is cold. There have been some big upsets. Both Williams sisters out in the second round for the first time since 2011. Both Australian Open champions out in the first round.

I’m scrounging round the internet for live streams and lamenting my inability to record anything. I can’t stay up all night to watch the big matches, so I’ve been stuck reading about the upsets the next morning instead of actually seeing any matches. The lot of an Antipodean sports fan who doesn’t have cable is a hard one.

In my travels though, I’ve read a few heartening articles about Andy Murray. He’s one of the few male players who watches and admires the women’s game. He tweets compliments about young and improving players and about exciting matches. When asked for his thoughts about Marion Bartoli’s retirement after Wimbledon last year, he said that she trained hard and got the best out of her particular game, which is all you can hope for. High praise from a man who prides himself on his ability to work really really really hard to be fit and to improve. And there’s a whole lot of chatter that he might take on Amelie Mauresmo (a recently retired French player) as his coach. Hiring a woman would be a first for a top-level player. I hope the rumours are true.

I’ve just outed myself as someone who knows entirely too much about tennis. I don’t just watch tennis; I read about it, and I remember what I read, sometimes years later. There’s no hope for me it would seem. I’m a tennis tragic.

When we first got cable in Vancouver, the US Open was on and I was hooked. Venus and Serena were teenagers, Roger Federer was not yet Federer, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras’s careers were winding down, women’s tennis was much more exciting and varied than the bullet serve/huge forehand grind of the men’s game. I’d never bothered about tennis before and was surprised by my instant addiction. I mentioned it to a wise acquaintance of mine, who said just go with it and it’ll wear off when you’re ready. Sensible counsel. But my enthusiasm never did wear off. More than 10 years later and I’m still watching.

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