An honest approach led to Murray magic

Would Andy Murray still have become a national hero had he maintained his grumpy Scots git persona post-Wimbledon win?

Ruth Wyatt: 'Murray would not have been taken into the nation's heart had he not shown some emotional truth in the previous year.'
Ruth Wyatt: 'Murray would not have been taken into the nation's heart had he not shown some emotional truth in the previous year.'

Well, yes, of course, given that he is the first British male to have won Wimbledon for - yes, we've all got this figure tattooed on our collective frontal lobes - 77 years.

(As a quick aside, I have to mention Chloe Angyal's tweet just in case you've been in a plastic bubble this week: 'Murray is indeed the first Brit to win Wimbledon in 77 years, unless you think women are people.')

Arguably, Murray would have been admired as an athlete and lauded as that all too rare thing, a British winner, but he probably would not have been taken into the nation's heart had he not shown some emotional truth in the previous year.

His tears in defeat at last year's final moved even the most stoic among a race built on emotional repression. Murray, previously a fine example of the buttoned-down, stone-faced, monotone post-match interview, became human at a stroke. Gutted, he could no longer pretend.

And we loved him for it. Not because he was hurt. Not just because he lost - although we Brits love a loser. Because it was honest.

Truth and fame make rare bedfellows.

This year's pre-tournament documentary sealed the deal. The footage of Murray talking about the mass murder at his Dunblane primary school, hunched over, cuddling his pet dog for comfort, faltering and fighting to control his feelings, ultimately failing as he recalled the horrific experience; that was the epitome of truth.

He said little, but it spoke volumes about him. He is driven. And now we know why.

His post-match interview as Wimbledon champion showed a similar degree of directness. The interviewer told him it was horrendous to watch that final game. 'Just try playing it,' he replied. 'I did my best - I hope you guys enjoyed it.' Did he remember much of that last game? No. 'I've no idea what happened. I don't know how long that last game was.'

Asked by a TV interviewer more used to dealing with reality stars and celebrities if he would now propose to his girlfriend, Murray didn't skip a beat: 'I only met you like ten minutes ago, I wouldn't be telling you first.'

That is authentic communication for you. And that's enough gratuitous mentions from me of our first Wimbledon champ for what feels like forever.

ruth.wyatt@haymarket.com

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