Lucy Cavendish: The Emperor's New Clothes (08/07/12)

Andy Murray is just a dour Scot, says every smooth-faced southern softie. Nonsense

Related Topics

The first time I saw Andy Murray play tennis was at Wimbledon in 2005: he was 18 years old and facing David Nalbandian, who had been a finalist in 2002. Murray was entered as a wild card, and he lost in five sets. I thought, even back then, that there was something interesting about him. Yes, he was gangly and awkward but he snapped those backhands over the net with more than a hint of promise. He also had what every mum in the country loves – a committed, passionate, ambitious mother.

True, he was Scottish, not English like Tim Henman, and we Home County types quickly labelled him a "dour Scot" – not stereotyping or anything – but we were prepared to overlook that because he could seriously play tennis.

Murray then went on to upset virtually every English person by saying he would support "anyone but England" in the 2006 World Cup and his reputation as a dour Scot was sealed. Except, of course, none of us realised that it was a joke.

Over the years, I have been seduced by Murray. I love his commitment, his power, the way he is such an open book on court. He doesn't have the European elan of Federer or the wildness of Nadal. But surely only the daftest amongst us could describe Murray, with his grimaces, frowns, sighs, smile and – OK, occasional – laughs, as dour now.

He is brave and he is driven. He has bulked himself up over the years so that now he is that rare physical specimen – a true athlete. Where those daft few see dourness in him, I think they are really reacting to his single-minded pursuit of being the best he can be. He has that Scottish Presbyterian work ethic. He doesn't just want to get in to the Wimbledon final. That's not enough for him. He is desperate to win it.

And I, for one, love his downbeat persona off the court. He's not showy. He doesn't do celebrity events. He rarely does interviews and when he does, he doesn't mince his words. When asked how he though his family felt during the semi-final he basically said, "I don't know. It's a lot tougher for me." I thought that was genuinely very funny and refreshingly honest. Not dour in the least. Really.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul falls: Talk of Iraq retaking the town, held by IS since June, is unconvincing  

Isis on the run? The US portrayal is very far from the truth

Patrick Cockburn
Harvey Proctor's home was raided by the Met under a warrant investigating historical child sexual abuse  

Harvey Proctor: A gay sex ring in Westminster? I don't believe it

Harvey Proctor
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk