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Sports Personality 10: Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Sports Personality of the Year
Venue: Liverpool Echo Arena Date: Sunday, 14 December Time: 1900 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sport website.

We will be dedicating a day to one of the top 10 contenders up until Friday 12 December (in alphabetical order). Today it's the turn of Andy Murray.

Andy Murray will be considered as a big favourite to land a Grand Slam next season following a phenomenal 2008.

The 21-year-old from Dunblane ended the tennis year ranked fourth thanks to five ATP wins and an appearance his first major final - the US Open.

It was also a year that saw the Scottish star beat all three players ranked above him - Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Murray also became the first player to win back-to-back Masters series titles.

Andrew Castle
By Andrew Castle
Former British tennis number one

Andrew Castle has seen Andy Murray develop from promising youngster to one of the best players in the world.

Here, the former British number one, and now broadcaster, explains why he expects Murray to reach the top and be a major contender for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year prize.

It truly has been a magical year for Andy.

He started off in the second tier at the start of the season but finished with the big boys. He won't stop until he reaches the peak and I think he will achieve his dream very soon.

Many said he didn't have what it takes to become the best. But he put in the physical work that undoubtedly helped his mental strength too and reaped the rewards for the hard graft by reaching the US Open final and winning back-to-back Masters titles. He was just beating people this year.

He defeated Nadal, Djokovic and Federer. Andy has done a lot this year and in his own mind he must be thinking he's half a step away for making the top.


I'm not the least bit surprised Andy's done so well. He left home to go to Spain at 15. He knew what he wanted - he was always determined and had his eye on the ball.

When you pay the price like he has he will feel like he deserves the success. He's the most single-minded bloke I know. He got so much criticism for parting with former coach Brad Gilbert and putting together his own team. Nobody had done that before. Andy went out on a limb, but it worked because he knows his own mind.

He comes across as quite defensive, maybe slightly wary, when he has media obligations but I think that's what every 21-year-old should be.

But what Andy does is take all the energy and put it into his game. In terms of playing the sport, he really is the most beautiful tennis player. He makes people play a game they don't want to play and he can raise his to an unbelievable level. Some of the tennis he plays is stupendous and wonderful to watch.

Murray's magic third set moment

I think in the next year he can be world number one and win a Slam. He's ready to assume the mantle of best player in the world.

I said that he would become the best two years ago and I got laughed at. A lot of cynical folk said "no way, what are you talking about?", I think we've seen what he's talking about.

The other fantastic thing is that he's from Dunblane. Where's that come from? It's great.

He didn't have a privileged background, Andy worked for it. He was lucky to have a mum and dad who loved and supported him. Imagine saying goodbye to a 15-year-old, telling him to put his education on the backburner a bit so that he could pursue his dream? Credit to the parents because that must have been tough.

It's funny thinking that I was sat alongside him four years ago at the Sports Personality awards when he was a skinny thing picking up the Young Personality title. He was a boy then, but he's a man now.

Andrew Castle was talking to BBC Sport's Saj Chowdhury

Stories from Murray's year:

Sun 14 Dec, 1900 GMT,
BBC One & BBC Radio 5 Live.

see also
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