After finally ending Britain's long wait for a men's champion, Andy Murray's impressive victory over world number 1 over Novak Djokovic has cemented his place in British hearts. Murray will now be looking to add more grand slams to his fairytale chapter in his storied career as we take a look back at his journey to becoming Britain's tennis hero.
Murray burst on to the scene after winning the US Open juniors at the age of 17 defeating Roger Federer's Wimbledon conquerer Sergei Stakhovsky in 2004. In 2005 Murray was ranked at 407 in the world, performed impressively at Queen's club reaching the third round. Murray would be given a wild card entry to Wimbledon where again he impressed by becoming the first Scot in the open era to reach the third round defeating Radek Stepanek on the way before losing in 5 sets to David Nalbandian after winning the first 2 sets. In the US Open Murray recovered from 2 sets to 1 down to defeat Andrei Pavel to record his first 5 set victory before losing in the second round to Frenchman Arnaud Clement. Murray lost his first ATP final to Roger Federer at the Thailand open before ending the year ranked number 64, an impressive 343 places higher than where he started.
In 2006, Murray began his first full season on the ATP circuit by teaming up with coach Brad Gilbert. He suffered first round defeats at the Australian Open and the French Open, before reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon where he beat former US Open champion and three time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick. At the US Open Murray matched he achievement at Wimbledon by again reaching the fourth round of the US Open where he won impressively in 5 sets against former Australian Open runner up Fernando Gonzalez before losing in four sets to Nikolay Davydenko. Murray reached his first semi final at a masters event in Toronto before losing to Richard Gasquet; but Murray did defeat Roger Federer in the Cincinnati masters and break in to the world top 20 for the first time in his career.
Moving on to 2007, and Murray lost to Rafael Nadal in a 5 set epic to exit the fourth round of the Australian Open. He would go on to miss the French Open and Wimbledon after suffering a wrist injury at the Hamburg Open. Murray recovered in time for the US Open where he reached the third round. Murray would end the year just outside the top 10 in 11th, and was looking to kick on in 2008 after linking up with new coach Miles Maclagan.
Murray didn't start 2008 very well, losing to Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the first round of the Australian Open, and then existing the French Open at the third round stage. Murray reached his first quarter final at Wimbledon losing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal. Murray lost in the first round to Chinese-Tapai's Yen-Hsun Lu in the Beijing Olympics. Andy Murray would get revenge by defeating Rafael Nadal for the first time at the US Open semi final as he reached his first grand slam final, which he lost in straight sets to Roger Federer. Murray would end the year as world number 4 and qualified for the end of year masters cup for the first time; he reached the semi final beating Roger Federer on the way.
Murray opened 2009 with a defence of his Qatar Open title before reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open despite being affected by a virus. He would perform better at the French Open where he reached the quarter finals, and then won his first Queens title (becoming the first British player to do so since 1938). Murray lost a closely fought semi final to Andy Roddick at SW19 before a disappointing exit to Marin Cilic in the fourth round of Flushing Meadows. Murray did achieve his highest ranking of world number 2 after winning the Montreal Masters Title against the 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, and held the number 2 spot for a short period of time before the start of the US Open. He had achieved wins against Novak Djokovic to win the Miami Masters, and Rafael Nadal in the final of the Rotterdam Open.
The start of 2010 proved to be good for Andy Murray; he reached the final of the Australian Open (beating his US Open conquerer Marin Cilic, and Rafael Nadal on route) only to lose his second grand slam final in straight sets to world number 1 Roger Federer. Murray couldn't repeat his quarter final feat at the previous French Open reaching the fourth round before bowing out to Czech player Tomas Berdych. Despite losing to Mardy Fish at Queens in the third round in the Wimbledon warm up tournament, Murray reached his second straight semi final at SW19 where he lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets. Murray would not fare well at the US Open exiting in the third round to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka. At the end of season Masters Cup Murray reached the semi finals (matching his best achievement at the event) before bowiing out in a three hour epic to Rafael Nadal. Other achievements in 2010 includes a win against Roger Federer at the Shanghai Rolex Master final.
2011 would prove to be Murray's best year for his grand slam achievements. For the second successive year, he would be the runner up at the Australian Open losing in straight sets to Novak Djokovic. He reached the semi finals of the French Open (his best result at Roland Garros to date), despite playing well he could not dethrone the king of clay Rafael Nadal. Nadal would then beat Murray in the semi finals of Wimbledon despite Murray being a set up and having a break point in game 2 of the second set (the third time Nadal had beaten Murray at Wimbledon). Nadal would continue to be Murray's bogey player as he ended his US Open dream in 4 sets at Flushing Meadows. Murray would end the year as world number 4.
On to 2012, and Andy Murray would team up with his new coach (and still to this day) Ivan Lendl a former 8 time grand slam champion. He would reach his fourth successive grand slam semi final where he bowed out to Novak Djokovic despite being holding a 2-1 set lead lead in a near 5 hour thriller. Murray would reach the quarter finals of the French Open before losing to Spainard David Ferrer. Although he lost in the first round of Queens to Nicholas Mahut, Murray would reach his first Wimbledon final (becoming the first British man to do so since Bunny Austin in 1938). After taking the first set against Roger Federer, the Swiss legend stepped up his game to win in four sets; Murray would get his revenge on the Swiss a month later at SW19 by dominating Federer in straight sets to win gold at the London Olympics, (and silver later on with mixed doubles partner Laura Robson). He would also beat Novak Djokovic in the semi finals of the Olympics on route to winning gold. Murray's win at the Olympics was the boost he needed heading in to Flushing Meadows as he won his first grand slam title. He won a topsy turvy 5 set thriller against Serbian rival Novak Djokovic after being 2 sets up and then taken to a deciding set by the world number 1. During the match, Murray won a record breaking tie breaker 12-10 in the first set, and also competed in the longest final in grand slam history (and of course became the first British man since Fred Perry to win a grand slam title). For the first time in his career Murray had ended the year as a world number 3.
Murray, with the pressure of winning a grand slam now off his back, reached his third consecutive grand slam final (beating his Wimbledon conquerer Roger Federer in a 5 set semi final), would lose to Novak Djokovic in four sets. Injury to his back would rule Murray out of the French Open, but he recovered in time to win the Queens tournament for the third time. The draw for Wimbledon saw the world number 2 placed in the same half of the draw as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Nadal would lose to Steve Darcis in the first round in straight sets, and Federer would lose to Sergei Stakhovsky in four sets in round 2. Murray would win his first Wimbledon title (over coming Fernando Verdasco on the way in 5 sets after being 2 sets down). Murray became the first British man to do so since Fred Perry in 1936, and the first singles British player since Virginia Wade in 1977. Murray won in straight sets against the world number 1 Novak Djokovic in three and a half hours, his third consecutive grand slam final against the Serbian, and fourth grand slam final in a row to cement his place as a legend in British tennis.
With all the hard work now paying off, few people could argue that Murray is one of, if not the best tennis player in the world at the moment. The man from Dunblane has at least reached the quarter finals of every grand slam tournament he has competed in since the 2011 Australian Open. Murray will now be looking to defend the US Open title he won in 2012, and add to his growing trophy cabinat. His partnership with Ivan Lendl, a man who won his first grand slam at the fifth attempt has been reeping rewards for Murray, and those who have been with him throughout his journey.