Page last updated at 07:28 GMT, Friday, 2 July 2010 08:28 UK

Profile: Andy Murray

Andy Murray in 2010
Murray must emulate Bunny Austin before he can emulate Fred Perry

Andy Murray is hoping to become the first British man to reach a Wimbledon final since Henry "Bunny" Austin in 1938 - cementing his place among the greatest home players of the post-war era.

This time last year the single-minded Scot was dumped out of Wimbledon after losing a tight semi-final to Andy Roddick.

If he goes one better on the parched lawns of SW19 this year against Rafael Nadal, he will be one match away from becoming the first British champion since Fred Perry in 1936.

The pundits give Murray a fair chance in Friday's semi-final clash. He is in the shape of his life with a rigorous fitness regime - eating up to 50 servings of sushi a night and drinking six litres of water a day, according to newspaper reports.

'Anti-English'

So what do we know about the only British man to reach two Grand Slam finals (he lost both to Roger Federer) since the 1930s?

The 23-year-old has become a household name over the past five years but not always for the right reasons.

Despite last year becoming the highest-ranked British male since Perry by reaching number two, he remains a figure many fans have struggled to warm to.

Judy Murray and Kim Sears
Judy Murray and Kim Sears are regular supporters on Centre Court

Some of the resentment, played out in the press, can be traced to his World Cup comment in 2006.

During an interview, he joked he would cheer on anyone but England during the football tournament in Germany - words which have dogged him ever since.

Murray has insisted he is "not anti-English and never was" and that his light-hearted comment was taken out of context.

And sources close to Murray say he has a very dry humour, which is often lost in translation.

But he has struggled to shake the anti-English label, despite the fact his grandmother is English.

This year, when the Queen made her first visit to Wimbledon for 33 years, there was much speculation in the papers about whether Murray would bow to her.

'Pushy mum'

The Scot had hinted he was unsure, and would "wait and see" what other players would do, but when it came to it, he bowed three times to cheers from the crowd.

Fiery and focused, he is a player of few words and even fewer smiles, but his recent reconciliation with long-term girlfriend Kim Sears after they split up last year is likely to have put a few back on his face.

Andy and Kim met before he was a big name, at the US Open in 2005 - her father is the tennis coach Nigel Sears.

MURRAY'S RISE AND RISE
Andy Murray in Wimbledon semi-final 2009

Born in Glasgow
Joined tennis academy in Barcelona aged 15
Won BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2004
Career prize money £7.5m
Won 14 ATP tour titles

The 22-year-old is studying for a degree in English Literature at Sussex University and has lived at Murray's Surrey mansion along with their border terrier Maggi.

She has been credited with helping Murray lighten up off court, and is a regular in the player's box on Centre Court alongside Andy's ever-present mother Judy.

A tennis coach and former Scottish champion, Judy is often accused of being "a pushy mum", but even if she is, both Andy and his brother Jamie - a Wimbledon mixed doubles champion in his own right - do not seem to mind one bit.

The cameras often focus on Judy as she lends vocal support to her sons whenever they play.

More recently another girl has made Murray grin on court - his new mixed doubles partner Laura Robson.

The 16-year-old paired up with the Scot at the Hopman Cup in Perth in January 2010 - and they eventually finished as runners-up, enjoying a few laughs along the way.

Right-handed Murray is 6ft 3in, weighs just over 13 stone and started playing tennis at the age of three.

He was raised in the Perthshire town of Dunblane, and was at school there when gunman Thomas Hamilton walked in and killed 16 children and one adult in 1996.

Rich list

He was not in the same class, did not witness the shootings and rarely talks about it.

A mop-headed and gangly Andy Murray first came to the British public's attention during his Wimbledon debut in 2005.

He has not been allowed to forget the moment he got cramp when he was two sets up against the former Wimbledon finalist David Nalbandian.

Tennis players Laura Robson and Andy Murray
Robson and Murray were runners-up in the Hopman Cup in January 2010

Unjust criticism about his fitness followed - the press were also not enamoured of his gruff demeanour.

Murray has done a lot of growing since then - both mentally and physically. He has warmed, not to the press per se, but to the fact that facing their questions is part of the modern game.

His fitness level can be measured not only by his reaching two Grand Slam finals - at the 2008 US Open and the Australian Open of 2010 - but also his willingness to flex his "guns" as much as he can.

In his pull-no-punches autobiography - Hitting Back - published in 2008, it is obvious that all he wants to do is win a Grand Slam.

It also revealed that the tennis ace would give former British number one Tim Henman a run for his money in the clean-living stakes.

He loathes smoking, hates partying and is a teetotaller - he tried alcohol once but ended up throwing up outside a nightclub in Barcelona.

According to his father Will - he and Judy split when Murray was just nine - the two brothers are completely different animals.

In an interview last year, he said: "Jamie is so outgoing, an entirely different personality from Andy who can be temperamental.

Andy Murray in 2004
Murray competing in the boys' competition at Wimbledon in 2004

"Everyone has their own ways of reacting to situations and, in the heat of battle, it's never easy to keep your emotions in check."

His family says Andy was born ultra-competitive and his backbone of discipline, and perhaps also his athleticism, comes from his grandfather - a staunch Presbyterian who played for Hibernian Football Club.

Murray is ranked sixth in the Sunday Times's latest top 10 Young Rich Sports Millionaires List, one place ahead of footballer Joe Cole.

Murray's fortune has risen from £12m last year to £15m in 2010.

With his fame and fortune on the rise, many would argue that Murray could become Britain's best ever player.

Some say he has already made it, but Murraymania or Andymonium aside, the real judge of that will be the fans.

Ask those inside the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club without Centre Court tickets where they are watching the semi-final and most will tell you Murray Mount.

The diehard Tim Henman fans will argue it is still Henman Hill, since he reached the semi-final at Wimbledon four times.

But if Murray triumphs over Spaniard and world number one Nadal on Friday, they may find themselves in a losing battle.



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