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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Tennis

From tragedy to triumph: Here’s to the champion'
AFP
London, July 09, 2013
First Published: 01:49 IST(9/7/2013)
Last Updated: 01:57 IST(9/7/2013)

A scrawny, pasty-faced Andy Murray first made a Grand Slam impact when he was just 18 and on debut at Wimbledon in 2005.
He reached the third round where he gave David Nalbandian, the 2002 runner-up, a huge scare by taking a two-sets-to-love lead before running out of steam.

But amongst the first questions posed at a packed news conference was an enquiry far removed from the gentle confines of the All England Club.
The questioner wanted to know about Murray’s recollection of his schooldays in the Scottish town of Dunblane, where he had been a pupil when deranged gunman Thomas Hamilton burst in and murdered 16 children and one teacher in 1996. Murray was eight at the time.

He recalls surviving by hiding under a desk in the headmaster’s office. “Some of my friends’ brothers and sisters were killed. I have only retained patchy impressions of that day, such as being in a classroom singing songs,” Murray wrote in his autobiography, Hitting Back.

Sad memories

“The weirdest thing was that we knew Hamilton. He had been in my mum’s car. It’s obviously weird to think you had a murderer in your car.
“That is probably another reason why I don’t want to look back at it. We used to go to the club and have fun. Then to find out he’s a murderer was something my brain couldn’t cope with.”

With such a childhood trauma, it is hardly surprising that 26-year-old Murray, who on Sunday became Britain’s first men’s Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry in 1936, often comes across as a hard man to read. Murray, with almost $30 million banked from his career, does not suffer fools gladly and talks straight, his often unsmiling demeanour at odds with a man known as a joker amongst his pals.

That granite exterior was softened - probably forever - when he broke down in tears after his loss in last year’s Wimbledon final to Federer.

He then became a national hero in August 2012 when he captured an Olympic gold medal, gaining revenge on Federer.

Murray has softened in recent times with his Olympic and US Open double putting an end to the doubts.

His sense of humour was evident after Friday’s semi-finals.

He was asked what he thought Perry would say to him as he prepared to face Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.

“Why are you not wearing my kit?,” offered Murray.


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