Please forgive me if, before going all analytic once more, I am, at the moment, a bit more personal. I rarely do it, especially not for a whole post, but today, the circumstances call for it.
A lot of you know me for being a fan of the tennis from Argentina, most particularly of, equally, Juan Martín del Potro and Juan Mónaco. When I’m asked, I don’t hide my favourites list anyway. So maybe you know, as well, that my “no 2″ favourite player is Andy Murray, who used to be my sole no 1 until, somewhere in the middle of 2009, a certain Gentle Giant of Argentina won my fan’s heart completely in Roland Garros.
I first saw Andy Murray play at his first match in Wimbledon as a professional, back in 2005. His talent, to me, made no doubt, and there was something about him that made me adopt him on the spot. Still, I decided to wait a full year to make him my favourite player. When he defeated Andy Roddick for the second time in 2006, almost exactly a year after the first time I watched him play, that was a done deal.
His temper, his fire, his ranting, all this I found quite entertaining, to tell the truth. But never as much as his tennis. Yes, he was quite extremely defensive, but there was also his touch at the net which I have always liked.
Through the years, I supported him, in wins and losses, no matter how bad the loss, no matter how gutted I could feel after a match. On court and off court, I liked what I was seeing of him, because he was not like the others. (And I must say I’m really fond of his humour.)
Yet, yes, in 2009, a tall, gangly Argentine took his place as my favourite (joined not too long after by his countryman), but never have I stopped believing that Andy Murray would, some day, achieve his full potential. Sometimes, I vowed I would drop him… only to take the words back at his next match and cheer for him loud as always.
At the Wimbledon finals, I cried with him, but somehow was sure that he would get back up again and achieve something great, really soon.
I never thought it would be that soon.
He played a fantastic Wimbledon, only to lose to the best player to ever grace a tennis court. He rolled up his sleeves, went to work, and came to the Olympics more determined than ever.
He played a fantastic tournament and, at home, with amazing support from those whose hearts he won not yet a month ago, he achieved what many thought he never would: he defeated the best player to ever grace a tennis court, in a best-of-five sets match, on the Wimbledon grass, and was crowned Olympic Champion.
To tell you the honest truth, I still cannot believe it.
For seven years, I have been waiting for something like this to happen, and can’t believe that he really did it.
What makes it even more special, to me, is that he did it just several minutes after the great emotions of having seen my favourite player, del Potro, winning Argentina’s very first medal of the Games, another convincing match against a top 4 player.
One won the gold and a silver mixed doubles medal, the other won the bronze, and I must say that I’m quite over the top with joy at seeing the efforts of two of my most favourite players rewarded so.
Andy, Juan, congratulations on your great achievements today, and in the past too, because they helped you prepare what happened to both of you this Sunday! And thank you for just being the great players, and men, that you are.