I'll be the first to say it, I never really liked Andy Murray as a player. He always seemed like a bit of a winy twat on court, shuffling around with his stiff walk and bulky ankle braces, constantly muttering to himself about one transgression or the next. His game was never overly appealing to me as a fan, he had clean, mechanical ground strokes and was undoubtedly an excellent mover, but often fell back on his stellar defensiveness too much - and to his detriment in big matches throughout his career. On court he didn't have the swagger of Federer, the electric shot-making of Delpo or the radiating intensity of Rafa or Novak. So while I respected him for his various successes and would cringe when I saw any of my personal favorites in his quarter, I can't say I ever rooted for him.
So now dear reader, let's back up for a second. I never really liked Andy Murray as a player, but as a person, that is an entirely different story...
No one can deny that Andy Murray has been a titan of the sport. The lowliest of the Big Four in terms of record and slams, but as an ambassador to the sport, gentleman and competitor he was absolutely on par with the dominant three members above him. If you really think about it, the "Big Four" encapsulated more than just [basically] all of the grand slam victories since the early 2000s, the Big Four represented the pinnacle of success in sport, both on court and off. Each of the members of the famous quadrant has done so much for the sport and sport and general, becoming the model for how success should present itself at the top of any profession - with grace, poise and humility.
Andy Murray, in his own cynical, brooding, Scottish way, brought greatness, both on court and off, back to a country that so desperately longed for it. On court, Andy was a winy, fiery twat that wasn't afraid of confrontation. Throughout his career he had some memorable on court tiffs with the likes of Del Potro, Berdych, countless umpires, and most recently Verdasco (ice-bath-gate). However, that same outspokenness on-court manifested itself off-court as a willingness to stand up for what he believed was right or unjust, being an outspoken champion for women's equality and speaking out against the pervasive, antiquated paradigms that still exist in sport.
So as a person, Andy Murray was the realest. More than any of the other members of the Big Four, if you follow Andy on social media he really let's you in. He is candid, he is emotional, he is poignant and many times he is often really quite funny too. But when you think about it, this really isn't surprising, because that is how he was in his career too. While Federer and Djokovic are both incredibly eloquent and honest - they still maintain a bit of guardedness. Andy on the other hand, said what he felt and felt what he said. He bared it all, in the many good times and the many bad ones, and as fans let us into the world of professional tennis that we have so often only dreamed of. I think Andy Murray is one of the most truly genuine people to ever grace our sport. It is this that made him a favorite in the locker room and in our hearts.
From on court kisses with Kim Sears, tear jerking post-loss interviews (even for non-fans like me), to triumphs that rose a nation - to Andy Murray and the existential Big Four, we say not goodbye, but see you soon. For these titans of the game will remain long after they leave our coveted courts.
P.S. This writer has a feeling that the impact Andy and all of the members of the Big Four had on-court, will be dwarfed by the impact they have off of it - and that will go far beyond the lines of a tennis court.