CALLS were made today for Andy Murray to be honoured after he became the first British male for 76 years to win a tennis Grand Slam as he was crowned champion at the US Open.
The 25-year-old Scot made history by beating Novak Djokovic in a thrilling five-set match at Flushing Meadows in New York.
As bleary-eyed fans celebrated his 2am victory, politicians said Murray’s remarkable achievement must be properly recognised.
Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray said: “This has rounded off a wonderful summer of sport. I would certainly support calls for some significant honour to be bestowed. He has to be recognised in some way. I don’t think you can get the freedom of Scotland can you?”
He said a knighthood would probably be the most appropriate way to honour Murray. “I don’t think there is any other mechanism.”
Edinburgh North and Leith Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm said: “I don’t usually recommend sportspeople for knighthoods, but on this occasion people feel so pleased, he ought to be honoured in some way.
“It would be crazy if he wasn’t, given the way other sports people have been.”
Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart said: “It’s a fabulous achievement, He has shown great grit and determination. A CBE would bring him up to the same level as Bradley Wiggins for now. We could save the knighthood for when he wins Wimbledon next year.”
WBO boxing champion Alex Arthur, from Edinburgh, called for Murray to receive a knighthood and said: “I think he should definitely get an honour from the country, for sure.
“What a feat last night – it was just amazing. He is showing the world that everyone can be successful at sport.
“Should there be a statue to him at Wimbledon? Maybe we should wait until he wins Wimbledon. We’ve been friends for a long time and I know that’s the biggest thing on his mind. I know he wants to win that one really badly.”
Murray won his first grand slam at his fifth attempt – the same as his coach, Ivan Lendl. Murray’s win makes him the first man to win Olympic singles gold and the US Open in the same year.
First Minister Alex Salmond praised Murray’s success. He said: “Congratulations to Andy Murray on what was a fantastic performance.
“This is another brilliant win over Novak Djokovic and continues an amazing year for Andy.
“Now Olympic and US Open champion, Andy truly is a Scottish sporting legend and I’m certain that more grand slam titles will follow.”
Murray took his crown after a tempestuous four hours and 54 minutes of play, eventually winning the match 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2.
Watched by his fellow countrymen Sir Sean Connery and Sir Alex Ferguson, Murray looked to be cruising to an easy victory when he went two sets up.
Sir Sean was said to look overjoyed when Murray finally won. Sir Alex Ferguson said: “I’m very proud for the boy. The hard work and his progress as a really top player showed itself tonight.”
The victory has banished the 76 years of hurt and has finally ended Fred Perry’s reign as Britain’s last male grand slam singles champion.
Perry, who won the last of his major titles at the US Open in 1936, could hardly have imagined it would take until 2012 before the feat would be matched.
But if it was going to happen in any year, it was this one – a year of Diamond Jubilee celebrations, victory in the Tour de France, Olympic glory, followed by Paralympic success and even a Wimbledon final for Murray himself.
But for the British number one the US Open will now forever hold a special place in his heart.
Murray’s brother Jamie tweeted: “What a historic night! Tonight Andy achieved his dream. He got the result his talent dedication and perseverance deserved. So proud of him.”
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: “Awesome. Well worth half of Scotland going to work tomorrow bleary-eyed. What a match.”
And city council leader Andrew Burns said: “That was simply wonderful – really glad I stayed up to watch it. Well done Andy Murray.”
Bill Lothian: I wrote ‘make a note of the name Andrew Murray’
By Bill Lothian
The manner in which Andy Murray became Britain’s first male grand slam tennis champion for 76 years, with a five set win over Novak Djokovic in the US Open Final, had echoes all the way to Craiglockhart, North Berwick, the Waverley club on Edinburgh’s southside and everywhere else that competitive teeth were cut.
Finding a way to win, often against the odds, has been a Murray trade-mark all the way. By his early teens Murray had left home in Dunblane and headed for Spain to hone his skills but not before serving further notice of extraordinary potential.
Peter Nicolson, past president of Tennis Scotland, recalls how, aged eight, Murray captured an under-12 doubles tournament partnered by Gavin Rumgay, now the country’s No 1 table tennis player, but when it came to landing British junior singles titles at under-12 and under-14 doubters had to be
disproved and not for the first time in his career.
Recalled Nicolson: “One senior LTA official remarked that Andy was ‘really competitive but doesn’t have the right technique so will be found out when he gets a little older’.”
Others had more faith including Leon Smith, now Britain’s Davis Cup coach, but back in 2003 an up-and-coming Scottish tennis tutor, when he told the Evening News that 16-year-old Andy had something in common with Grand Slam champs.
Sitting in that Edinburgh hotel discussing Wimbledon prospects in general for that year, Smith’s optimism for a boy due to compete in the junior singles – he was to win the US under-18s a year later – certainly made an impression on this reporter.
In a prediction that can maybe be seen as offsetting countless failed prophesies I was to write: “Make a note of the name Andrew Murray.”
Just how that came to be Murray’s destiny owes so much to the driving force that is mum, Judy, a quality coach and ex-Scotland internationalist.
No compatriot blazed a trail for Murray and since a statue has been erected at Wimbledon to Fred Perry the previous British grand slam winner in 1936 with busts of three women’s Wimbledon champions – Ann Jones, Angela Mortimore and Virginia Wade – situated nearby, it is reasonable to expect this latest achievement to be set in stone.
From Craiglockhart to Grand Slam champion
ANDY Murray’s thrilling victory in last night’s US Open brought him the Grand Slam championship he has been dreaming about since he first picked up a racquet.
And while much has been made of the period he spent in Spain honing his skills at the Sánchez-Casal Academy, the Capital can claim a small role in Murray’s success.
It was on the tennis courts of Craiglockhart Tennis Centre that he trained from the age of nine, under the watchful eye of mum Judy.
And it was here that he famously won his first Scottish Junior title, bringing himself to the attention of local sports writers and tennis fans as a player to watch.
Of course, that wasn’t all they saw, and the player himself remembers that the courts of the Capital also got a taste of his now infamous frustration when things are not going his way.
In his autobiography he wrote: “I got defaulted once when I was twelve at the Scottish Junior Championships at Craiglockhart. I was playing one of my brother’s best friends and in a moment of frustration I flung my racket
towards the chair.
“It went underneath the fence and just seemed to keep going forever. The assistant referee defaulted me and I had to trudge off the court to pick up my racket. Afterwards I ran off to my mum. I was really upset and wanted her support but she was just
Murray’s other Edinburgh connection is of course his love for Hibernian FC. The football fan was actually a member of the Hibs kids between the ages of five and eight and has spoken of his enjoyment at getting back to Easter Road to watch the home games.
Dunblane celebrates local hero
AT the Dunblane Hotel in Murray’s home town, posters of the 25-year-old were hung on the walls and champagne was on ice ready for his victory.
A crowd of around 80 fans packed into the bar to watch the nail-biting five-hour game into the small hours of this morning, before erupting into a mass celebration and chanting “There’s only one Andy Murray”.
Gavin Noland, 63, said: “Andy is Dunblane’s hero, not just Dunblane, the whole of Scotland and the rest of Britain.
“He was magnificent. I’ve been following him from the very beginning.
“I think he’s coming into his game, just since winning the Olympics he’s taken off like a meteorite.”
Dave Whitton, 62, said: “I’m just so happy for Andy – no tears this time, just complete joy and happiness, which is not only just for him but for the people of Dunblane and the whole of Scotland.
“We share in his happiness today, emotionally. Like a true Scotsman we always live in hope whether it’s football or tennis. I’ve followed all his games as has my daughter who lives in London, we’ve been texting each other all night.”
People had travelled from all over Scotland to savour the atmosphere and be part of the big event.
Graham Neeson, 53, from Glasgow, was visiting a friend in Perth and started watching the game there before leaving to get the last train home.
However, he hopped off at Dunblane, to make sure he could see “history in the making”.
“I wouldn’t have got home in time to watch the whole thing so I thought, where better to jump off than the epicentre of Murrayland – Dunblane,” he said.
• Murray’s first tennis triumph came as a six-year-old in a Waverley Club junior event against an opponent four years older than him.
• His grandfather, Roy Erskine, played football for Hibernian.
• At the age of 15 Andy was invited by Rangers to play at their School of Excellence but declined.
• His favourite musician is 50 Cent.