Andy Murray: the home side’s fearless teammate
There are few more inspirational modern tennis stories than Andy Murray’s.
The Scot’s career has run parallel to three Grand Slam-winning greats: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, a trio that became The Big Four after Murray won his first major in 2012 at the US Open and finished as the year-end No.1 in 2016.
Forty-one weeks at the top, three Grand Slam singles titles, 11 major finals and two Olympic gold medals.
Andy Murray has been a leading player since his top 10 debut in 2007, a national hero, father of four, knight of the realm and an athlete who has fought past a debilitating hip injury and lengthy rehab to regain his standing at the top of the game.
Laver Cup London 2022 will be Murray’s first appearance with Team Europe, expanding Captain Bjorn Borg’s options in doubles, where Team World has previously excelled.
“I’m pumped,” he says. “I’ve watched the last few years on the TV and it always looked brilliant, great atmosphere, unique really.
“These are guys that I competed against throughout my whole career, and it’s been extremely challenging, so I’m very much looking forward to being part of the same team as them.
“All of us are getting a bit older now. This might be one of the last opportunities we get to do this together. I’m proud to be a part of that.”
Glasgow-born Murray loves a team environment and can be relied upon to play his part in singles and doubles, supported by millions of fans in his home city.
How it’s going
Starting the year ranked No.135 in singles, Murray came close to winning his 47th title in Sydney. Determined to return to the top 50, he was runner-up to Aslan Karatsev and stated after the match that he was back to win titles, not just matches.
A week later Murray defeated 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round of the Australian Open and spent the first half of the year piecing together victories over higher-ranked opponents: Federico Delbonis in Miami, Denis Shapovalov in Madrid, and on grass, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios at Stuttgart.
Despite suffering an abdominal injury in his Stuttgart final against Matteo Berrettini, Murray was encouraged by maintaining a consistently high level.
Buoyed by four wins over top-20 players, Murray returned to Centre Court at Wimbledon in July to beat Australia’s James Duckworth in four sets. He then pushed an in-form John Isner 6-4 7-6(4) 6-7(3) 6.4, and while disappointed by the close loss, Murray said he believed his game was in a good spot and that he was motivated to make the latter stages of the majors.
Murray faced Alexander Bublik for the fourth time in 2022, in the quarterfinals of the Hall of Fame Open at Newport, and showed strong form in his wins over Sam Querrey in the first round, and Wimbledon doubles champion Max Purcell.
Almost four years on from major hip surgery, Murray defeated Stan Wawrinka in the first round at Cincinnati and, with a No.51 world ranking, headed to Flushing Meadows were he downed 24th seed Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets in their opening encounter. Following a third round appearance at the US Open, his ranking moved to No.43.
Murray on playing Laver Cup
Andy Murray’s intentions to regain his status at the top of tennis were reinforced by his decision to re-engage Grand Slam great Ivan Lendl as his coach this year.
Murray clearly appreciates the belief Ivan Lendl has shown in him, and also that of Bjorn Borg, who selected Murray for Team Europe London and describes him as “a dedicated, ferocious, and inspirational competitor who has re-established himself at the top of the game.”
Playing within a team environment is a familiar and pleasing prospect. “I love playing as part of a team and there is a great atmosphere and intensity to the event. I’ve heard lots of good things,” Murray says.
As a spectator of Laver Cup in previous years, he has enjoyed watching teammates Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal interacting on the bench, and the whole side chipping in with coaching advice.
“It’s just unique. I’ve never seen that before in my career. More than happy to receive some (advice) from them.”
Assessing the opposition, he says Laver Cup 2022 is not going to be easy for Team Europe.
“All of the players in their team are top players, we’ll need to play well to win.
“Taylor’s had a brilliant season, he’s a big guy. Takes on every shot, doesn’t really hold back. Jack Sock is one of, if not the best doubles player in the world. They have a good blend in their team.