Andy Murray is in Melbourne for the first time as the world No.1, many believe it’s his best chance to finally win the Australian Open. The 29-year-old is in career best form after an outstanding 2016 that included claiming the top ranking, an Olympic gold medal in Rio, a second Wimbledon title and appearances in two other grand slam finals – the Australian and French Open finals.
When he broke through in 2013 to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936, it was enough to add an OBE to his name. Another title at the All-England club last year has resulted in higher honours.
But the title doesn’t sit that comfortably him, mainly because of his young age, and he’s happy for people to still call him Andy. It has emerged that Australian host broadcaster Channel Seven has asked its commentators to refer to him as Sir Andy Murray.
“I was asked and I said, ‘No, I’m fine with Andy’. Andy’s fine,” Murray told Fairfax Media.
“And then on all the draw sheets and everything, and on the scoreboard, I was more than happy with it being Andy.
Murray is again one of the main drawcards at the Australian Open, a tournament he’s finished runner-up five times since 2010, and the newly knighted star will join the likes of Sir Elton John and Sir Mick Jagger to headline the Rod Laver Arena stage.
But he’s having none of it. “I’m still hanging around the same people, the same friends, the same family. All my friends in the locker room have been laughing and joking about it.”
Murray’s 0-5 record in finals at Melbourne Park is the elephant in the room. It’s tough bringing up the subject, especially as he’s regularly fallen victim to long-time rival and six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
“Here I’ve never beaten him and I’ve lost to him four or maybe five times. I can’t remember, but I’ve lost to him a bunch here. A couple of them were pretty tough matches. A couple of them were very easy for him, so I need to try and turn that around here. There’s a good chance that if I want to win the event I’d have to play against him,” Murray said.
“Hopefully, I can get by him this year but he’s definitely my biggest rival and someone that I’ve competed against for 18 years now.”