Briton Murray wins US Open boys' title

Dunblane survivor Andrew Murray yesterday underlined his status as the natural British successor to Tim Henman among the world's elite by capturing the US Open boy's title.

The 17–year–old Scot became the first ever British winner of the event and joined several of the sport's biggest names on the list of champions.

In previous years, the title which Murray now owns has been claimed by Pat Cash, Stefan Edberg, Marcelo Rios and Andy Roddick. Roger Federer and Boris Becker were both runners–up in the early stages of their careers.

And Murray, who is about to embark on a full–time professional career, will now aim to follow the lead of such luminaries by making an impact on the ATP tour.

He overwhelmed Ukrainian Sergei Stakhovsky to post a 6–4 6–2 victory in this afternoon's final.

The third–seeded Murray dropped only one set – in his quarter–final – all week, and looks not far away from a player able to compete at a higher level.

Murray was just eight years old when gunman Thomas Hamilton walked into his school in Dunblane, Scotland, and shot dead a teacher and 16 children all aged four or five in 1996.

He avoided Hamilton's menace by taking refuge in the school's headmaster's office.

In the years since the tragedy, Murray has gradually developed into a teenage tennis player of whom much is expected.

He has been selected by Jeremy Bates for Great Britain's Davis Cup match against Austria later this month, when he will team up with Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Alex Bogdanovic.

Already, Murray has struck up a good relationship with Henman, whose hopes of the men's title at Flushing Meadows evaporated last night with a straight–sets defeat at the merciless hands of Federer.

Speaking after his defeat against Federer, 30–year–old Henman revealed his admiration for the British youngster.

"He's playing some big matches here in the junior events, but I think he knows where the bread and butter of his career is going to be, and he's already taking some big strides, and that's very important," said Henman.

"We've had plenty of examples of kids that have done well in the juniors but haven't made that transition.

"Not only his game, but between the ears, he knows what he's doing.

"He works hard and I think that's a good combination."

Murray's victory was gleefully received by the Lawn Tennis Association.

Performance director David Felgate, Henman's former coach, backed the youngster for sustained success over future seasons.

"I'm delighted for Andy, he fully deserves his victory following a week of fantastic tennis," said Felgate.

"This achievement is testament to the hard work and determination he has shown all year.

"Andy has a great future ahead of him starting in a couple of weeks with our Davis Cup away tie against Austria. Who knows what can happen from here?"

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