By winning Wimbledon this year, Andy Murray lifted the ‘British curse’ and sent the citizens of the so called fathers of modern day lawn tennis into Euphoria. After 77 years of embarrassment, there was a proud moment for the nation on the hallowed turf of the All England Club. Relief combined with ecstasy engulfed her majesty’s kingdom as Murray kissed the winner’s trophy on Centre Court.
Murray had reached the pinnacle of the sport, and lifted the huge burden off his shoulders. The Scot had fulfilled his destiny. His victory would inspire a generation of kids as they bid to emulate Andy’s feat, they said. It would inspire kids to take up the sport and idolize Murray over their failing Football stars such as Wayne Rooney, they said.
That argument seems to be quite a valid one, however there is something that may actually be detrimental to the upcoming stars of the sport from the nation. Players such as 18-year-old Kyle Edmund are touted as the next generation of British tennis, however unless he actually succeeds as Murray did, his contribution would not be rated.
Any upcoming star’s success will be pit against what Andy does with his career, and by the looks of it the Scot is here to stay. He has already won the Olympic Gold, the US Open and Wimbledon while he has made the finals of the Aussie Open multiple times already. The 26 year-old is destined to win a few more Slams before he ends his career, and any upcoming stars will be judged by keeping Murray’s achievements as a yardstick.
So even if Edmund does well, make the top 10 or the top 5, until he goes on to win a Grand Slam title he will still remain “a good player, but no Andy Murray”. This is something that may well go on to affect the mindset of such up and coming stars, despite of it not being his or Andy’s fault.
The situation will be the similar to what Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic or Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka have at the moment. Both the aforementioned fail to make their way out of Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer’s shadow leaving them being referred to as ‘the other Serbian’ or ‘the other Swiss’ despite being a constant feature of the top ten for the last few years.
On the other hand, what is happening in France or with French tennis seems to be amazing. The French actually have a dozen players in the top 100 of the world, which highlights the strength of their grass-root infrastructure. The grass however seems to be greener on the other side if French fans are to be believed as they are yet to see a French Grand Slam champion since Yannick Noah’s 1983 Roland Garros win. Nevertheless the girls from France have helped the nation save some face with Marion Bartoli winning Wimbledon this year itself.
It is a topic of discussion that can have many opinions and views, but the fact remains that Andy has reminded an ailing nation of its most treasured sport. Whether his Grand Slam win actually helps British tennis or not remains to be seen.