On January 11, 2019, Andy Murray announced that he would be retiring from the sport he cherishes so much after his next Wimbledon — if not sooner. Regarded as one of Britain’s greatest sportsmen, Sir Andrew Barron Murray is just as sensational off the court as he is on it. He’s experienced tragedy, triumph, and everything in between on his way to becoming the number one ranked British tennis player. Relive the journey Murray has traveled on his way to eventually calling it quits. Prepare to be inspired by his story.
Born in Glasglow, Scotland on May 15, 1987, Murray started playing tennis at the age of three. His mother took him down to the local courts to get a few swings at the ball, but she recalls that he wasn’t very good back then.
Murray also played different sports as a child, including football. He excelled there as his maternal grandfather was a professional player. Playing tennis allowed him to be on the court with his mom, who was becoming a successful coach.
Murray used to attend a youth group led by a man named Thomas Hamilton. In 1996, Hamilton came armed into the Dunblane Primary School which Murray attended, and killed 17 people. He shot 16 students and one teacher before aiming the gun at himself and committing suicide. The event is now known as the Dunblane massacre.
“At the time, you have no idea how tough something like that is, as you start to get older you realize,” Murray stated. “It is just nice that I’ve been able to do something the town is proud of.” The tennis star escaped harms way by running and hiding in his headmaster’s office.
Murray Was Great As A Young Player
By the age of eight, Murray was already competing against adults. On top of that, when he was 12, he already had achieved a huge accomplishment in the sport of tennis by winning a major youth championship.
That championship was the Florida Orange Bowl back in 1999. Five years later, Murray captured the US Open Junior Title and became the World’s No. 1 Junior. The reign didn’t stop there for the young man as he became the only non-English athlete to receive BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2004.
Parents Call It Quits
Not every child is lucky enough to have both parents in their lives as they grow up. Murray was one of the unlucky ones, as he saw his mother and father split when he was only ten years old. When something like that happens at a young age, it can change a person.
Murray says it fueled his aggression, but fortunately, he didn’t let it steer him down a darker path. “When I was younger and went on court, and was away from the arguments my parents were having, I could just go out and play,” he said.
Murray Goes Pro
When Murray made his professional debut in 2005, his ranking was 407. By the end of the year, his ranking shot all the way up to 64. Only a year later, he won the Cincinnati Master’s Tournament after he defeated the top-ranked Roger Federer.
That same year, Murray beat Andy Roddick and received his first ATP (The Association of Tennis Professionals) title by winning the SAP Open. That was a tough slew of opponents to blow by so early in one’s career.
Hitting The Spotlight
It was like Murray could do no wrong. Once he became a pro, his ascension was like clockwork and in 2008, it had reached a new milestone. During the US Open, Murray found himself in the semi-finals against Spanish phenom, Rafael Nadal.
The two played brilliantly, but in the end it was the Brit who came out on top. In the final he squared off with Roger Federer, but couldn’t seal the deal. By 2009, Murray was number two in the world.
In 2012, Murray made history throughout the whole year. He kicked it off with his trip to Wimbledon. He made it to the finals for the first time after he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semis. Reaching the finals made him the first tennis pro from Great Britain to hit such a height since 1939.
The whole United Kingdom was very proud of Sir Andy. Unfortunately, Roger Federer rained on his parade once more as Murray lost in finals. That would be Federer’s seventh Wimbledon win.
A breakthrough for young Murray was on the horizon. A few months after facing defeat at the hands of Federer, he would seek revenge on the Olympic stage. After someone has stopped you from tasting success a couple of times, it’s only right you pay them back.
The Olympic Games were in London that year and things couldn’t have turned out more perfectly. Federer and Murray ended up in the finals to battle it out for gold. This time, Murray exacted his revenge and clinched his first Olympic gold medal!
Since he was young, Murray has always been a winner. 2012 was the year the world got to see it firsthand. After the Summer Olympics, Murray kept his hot streak alive that following September at the US Open. Murray pummeled the competition on his way to the final round.
There he would face off against a worthy foe in Novak Djokovic. The two battled for five sets, and in the end, it was Murray who took home the trophy. He was the first from Great Britain to do so since 1977 and the first British man to win a Grand Slam title since 1936.
Keeping Up His Stride
Murray started off 2013 with a tough loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open — payback for when Murray defeated him in the US Open a year prior. Murray didn’t let that defeat slow him down, however.
That summer, he ended up making history once more at the Wimbledon men’s singles. He and Djokovic found each other again in the finals, but this time Murray proved to be too much. As a result, he became the first British male to secure a victory in the tournament in 77 years and the second Scottish-born to do so.
Back Problems Creeping Up
It’s rare that you see an exceptional athlete who doesn’t run into injury problems. Many times, these issues can lead to the need for surgery and that’s exactly where Murray found himself in 2013 after his loss in the quarterfinals at the US Open.
For much of the 2014 year, his play was not up to par thanks to the operation. He did, however, make headlines when he hired the former women’s champ, Amelie Mauresmo, to coach him.
Kicking Off 2016 Strong
Murray started 2016 on strong note by advancing to the Australian Open final where he would face Djokovic yet again. The two by now had become nemeses, with them seemingly exchanging finals victories against each other. Murray lost this time, but he went on to beat Djokovic that year in the Italian Open to claim that title.
He kept his level of play up all the way to the French Open. He advanced to the finals, becoming the first British player to do so since 1937. Sadly, his rival Djokovic would take home the trophy that time.
Bring Home The Gold, Baby
In 2016, Murray brought back a familiar face in Ivan Lendl as his head coach and together the two made history. Not only did the tennis great win another Wimbledon title in straight sets, but he accomplished another huge feat.
Murray brought glory back home for the second consecutive year after he beat Juan Martin del Potro at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. He is the first player, male or female, to win two medals for Olympic Tennis Singles.
He’s A Family Man
Andy Murray and Kim Sears married in Dunblane Cathedral, in his hometown, in 2015. After the marriage, they decided to move to Oxshott, Surrey. Murray is a doting father of two and he called the birth of his daughter Sophia “the best moment of my life.”
Fatherhood changed the outlook of his life. He told BBC Sports, “For the first time ever, tennis is probably more of a distraction from my home life than the other way around.” He would usually focus on his match, but that changed to looking forward to seeing his wife and kids.
Murray has always stuck up for his female counterparts and he would like to call himself a proud feminist. He’s always quick to shut down any sexist questions and remarks that reporters ask with stern force. After winning his second gold medal, he put reporter John Inverdale in his place after he asked if he was the first Olympic tennis player to win two golds.
“Well, to defend the singles title,” Murray said, correctly adding, “I think Venus and Serena [Williams] have won about four each …”
Malaria No More
A doer of justice, Murray is on the leadership team of Malaria No More UK, which is a charity that brings awareness and raises funds to help save lives in Africa. Hundreds of children die due to mosquito bites there each year and Murray wants to see it end.
“You can’t help but imagine how different things would be if you lived in parts of Africa where malaria is the number one killer of young children … we really can be the generation to make malaria no more,” said Murray.
Money Man Murray
For a man who’s been on top of such a great sport for so long, you can’t help but imagine that Murray is bringing in the cash. After he retires, Murray will leave the sport with a net worth of $165 million — not too shabby for a tennis player.
Around $61 million of his money comes from prize money. The remainder is from bonuses, endorsements, and appearance fees. Murray really understands how to work the marketing side of things.
Becoming An Ambassador For A Great Cause
On November 6, 2014, Andy Murray became the Global Ambassador for the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). He does his charity work with a smile because he’s happy to help make the world a better place.
“I’ve followed WWF’s work on the illegal wildlife trade for a while now and been looking for a way to support their work,” said Murray. “It’s a shocking fact that rhino poaching in South Africa increased by over 7,700% between 2007 and 2013 so anything we can do to deter poachers is a positive step.”
The Injury Bug
It’s unfortunate that some injuries are capable of slowing down even athletes who are at the top of their games. We’ve seen it happen to many greats before they even had a chance to accomplish as much as Murray has. A lingering hip injury forced Murray to withdraw from the 2017 US Open, causing him to undergo yet another surgery.
He returned in 2018 to the US Open, but struggled yet again to get back into the groove of things. This would lead to the ultimate decision…
An Emotional Day
It’s never easy leaving what you love behind. At a very emotional press conference in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open in 2019, Murray revealed that he would be calling it quits after the next Wimbledon, if he could even make it to that tournament.
Thanks to the hip, Murray said that he could no longer put up with the pain and compete. When a reporter asked how he was feeling, Murray let the emotions pour out as he replied, “Yeah, not great. It’s not just that: The pain is too much, really. I don’t want to continue playing that way.” Anyone with a heart could feel for Murray after all the years he’s poured his heart into this sport…