Two Olympic medals, two Wimbledon titles, one US Open title and number one in the world. Andy Murray finally has reached the peak that so many had doubted all along the way. So why, after a success that is built upon the grit and determination that the British people adore, do those very same people refuse to hold him in the national treasure status he so evidently deserves?
Many often point to Murray’s lack of personality as the reason behind their indifference or dislike of the Scotsman. The same argument cannot be used for Lewis Hamilton, another British sportsman at the pinnacle of his game. Hamilton’s recent behaviour in the final race of the 2016 F1 World Championship enraged fans across the country as he fought tooth and nail until the very end against his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, rather than letting the German have an easy ride – as per the instructions of the Mercedes leaders.
It seems unfathomable that two sportsmen who possess an abundance of individual accolades can be so unloved by their home nation. Look at the way that Luis Suarez, a polarising figure at the best of times, is unanimously adored in Uruguay despite a disciplinary record that Count Dracula would be proud of. Mitchell Johnson is another perfect example of a villain that a country has clutched close to their bosom. So why are we, here on the British Isles, so very averse to do the same?
It’s well-documented that we love an underdog and, to be honest, both Andy Murray and Lewis Hamilton were worshipped as youngsters. Gritty, hard-working sportsmen who come close enough to satisfy the British public’s appetite for heart-wrenching defeat are always loved – ask Tim Henman or Lee Westwood.
However, after Murray’s first Wimbledon title and Hamilton’s first Championship, it seems that the warmth very quickly disappeared. The media were quick to scrutinise their every night out, the public expected much more and, still, neither have wavered in their success. Murray is a lock for Sports Personality of the Year but it isn’t hard to guarantee that when he picks up the gong, Twitter will be rife with those clamouring that Alastair Brownlee or Jason Kenny have been “robbed”.
There is no simple equation to why we as Brits have such a dislike to consistent triumph.
In October of this year, boos rang out around Wembley when England’s captain and top ever goal scorer in history fired wide in the 2-0 victory over Malta.
Just think about that.
Wayne Rooney booed.
By his own fans.
While they were winning.
As I said, I don’t know what the formula is for a British sportsman to be loved. Tim Henman, Peter Crouch, and David Coulthard have achieved cult status for little to nothing leaving me puzzled to say the least.
With reference to the title, I’d like to formally apologise to Wayne Rooney, Lewis Hamilton and, especially, Andy Murray. To put it frankly: we are not worthy, sorry.
Feature post; @gsayoung