For many people it’s the highlight of the sporting year – the moment when the public gets to anoint its No 1, and the BBC reasserts itself as the historic home of sport in spite of having lost the rights to so many of the big events. It’s a special evening, no doubt. The signature tune on its own is enough to bring a lump to the throat. The occasion gathers together a Who’s Who of British sport, all in their finery, and there’s no thrill like waiting for one of Gary Lineker’s jokes to fall flat.
But is it THAT special? Not so much that Andy Murray feels he has to be there when it takes place in Leeds this Sunday. Instead, our first Wimbledon men’s singles champion for 77 years will be in Florida, training hard ahead of his return to action in the New Year.
It was the same last year when Murray finished third. There was a satellite link-up and Lennox Lewis comically missed his cue to hand Murray the award. But in 2012 Murray had little chance of beating Bradley Wiggins to top spot. This year is different. The Scot we've all grown to love is the hottest favourite in living memory. So is he being complacent? Is he guilty of dissing TV sport's most august occasion – and on its 60th anniversary as well? How big an effort would it be to jump on a plane and pop home for a couple of days? Would his training really suffer?
Or has he grasped a fundamental truth – that the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award really doesn’t mean that much. Not compared with winning Wimbledon anyway. And that by staying in Florida he is showing the true dedication to his profession that lifted him to tennis’s ultimate heights in the first place. Murray’s always been his own man. He’s never played the media’s game. And that’s all part of the respect he has earned. Then again it IS the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.
So should Murray be there? Vote now!