The real reason Andy Murray is a national hero is because he is willing to pay his tax bill

Murray has kept quiet about his political views since a tweet supporting Scottish Independence rebounded on him three years ago

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray is difficult to love when he’s struggling in a match, berating his team with a tirade of scowling abuse. On form, though, his tennis is magical. Murray – currently ranked number one in the world and battling Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals of the French Open – can be notoriously prickly with interviewers, keeping his political views private since a tweet supporting Scottish Independence rebounded on him three years ago.

Maybe it’s his recent knighthood, but the mercurial genius seems to have mellowed, and made a comment the other day which made me shout for joy. Asked if he would consider becoming a tax exile, Murray replied he “wouldn’t want to live somewhere just to pay no tax and not to have my family and friends around me … I wouldn’t do that”. As he’s worth around £70m, that principled choice has cost him plenty and makes him almost unique amongst top tennis stars.

Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, and Marin Cilic all live in in Monaco as do many other sportsmen like Lewis Hamilton.

Another rich man prepared to pay tax in the UK is Lord Sugar. Accused of switching from Labour to supporting the Tories to minimise his tax liabilities, Sugar published a photograph of a cheque he wrote in January to HMRC for £58,646,028.44.

Tax avoidance (or as the rich put it: financial planning) is a moral issue for me, which is why Andy Murray is to be admired. I had an uncomfortable conversation with a friend this week – a British business consultant who advises companies in the EU. Out of the blue, he’s sold his home in London, rented a flat in Zurich and sought Swiss residency. Uprooting yourself from friends and family just to save money is beyond my comprehension. I don’t know if our friendship will stand the test.

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