Andy the Great

Any stand up worth his salt will tell you that material goes out of date and needs to be dropped.

Some routines just become stale. Others become clichéd and feel generic and some are outdone by technology. For years I relied heavily on my fax routine until the internet came along and saw it off.

I also had much success with my Wimbledon routine and the hapless state of British tennis – a routine which I am pleased to say has been finally and absolutely confined to the archive by the efforts of Mr Andy Murray.

Much is made of Andy Murray. Everyone has an opinion on him. Many love him of course but for me, too many people still approve. The Scottish thing is an open sore and what he said or didn’t say, who he supports and who he doesn’t. His sport of tennis doesn’t help him much either. Tennis being seen as elitist and the preserve of only the rich, albeit Murray does not hail from not a particularly privileged background and the Williams sisters are the classic arc to riches that sport can provide. And James Ward, who by defeating John Isner made our triumph in the Davis Cup possible – his old man drives a cab, so no silver spoon there either.

Andy Murray’s manner and his voice isn’t his greatest strength either, but to all of this, I say so what. He’s a tennis player and I would argue the greatest sportsman that this county has produced in my lifetime?

Just think on what he has achieved. World no.2 in an individual sport that is as competitive as any. Where results count for everything and opinion for nothing. Two majors including the one on grass that the country craved, Olympic Gold and now single handedly the Davis Cup.

I know that this victory was not single handed by any means – but what I mean is – without Andy Murray’s undefeated year, Britain clearly would not have had a prayer.

And I say the greatest sportsman because of how competitive and difficult tennis is. Much more demanding than most sorts and certainly the sports that are more feats of endurance than mastering technique and often an effort and victory shared with a team mate. Tennis is completely solo. Unlike golf, it requires supreme fitness and athleticism. Young golfers nowadays might look like middle weights but guys carrying timber are still winning events and good for them. Tennis requires boundless talent and ability plus hours and hours of practice to master the array of shots and surfaces that are required.

Which is why I always defended Henman from the opprobrium heaped on him for ‘choking’ in reaching world no.4 and four Wimbledon semi-finals in his Stella career.

But back to the Davis Cup which up until this year, I had paid almost no attention to at all. I didn’t know the format of the event and nor did I really care – until this year when I watched the tie against Australia and in particular the Murray boys in the doubles. I was doing a gig somewhere and I caught the doubles in my hotel room and I tried to imagine what it must be like to be Judy Murray.

That’s the routine I should write to replace my hapless Wimbledon one. Because heaven knows what she must feel when she sees them both her boys on court and knowing what they have achieved and the happiness they have brought to so  many sports fans up and down this country wherever the border is drawn by our naff politicians.

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