When British tennis stalwart Liam Broady on Monday described Andy Murray as a great champion of the game, he wasn’t referring to Murray’s 46 ATP titles. This was more of a character reference.
Speaking on the Behind the Racquet podcast, Broady stressed that Murray uses his position of influence to champion the sport in this country, where a more selfish player might look the other way.
For an example, Broady picked the team instalment of the Battle of the Brits event, which finished nine days ago at the National Tennis Centre in south-west London.
“Andy is recovering from a hip injury,” Broady told interviewer Mike Cation, “and he risked his body to play these events knowing that it would help the other British players. The Battle of the Brits was probably not ideal preparation for the US Open, but he was still out there from dawn till dusk watching every single player play.”
Broady’s comments might come as a surprise to those who saw him flick a middle-finger salute at Murray on the final day of the BOTB. But the confrontational posturing was only for fun; all the players, with the notable exception of Johanna Konta, could be found bonding over dinner every night.
In fact, there has been a remarkable camaraderie between most of the British players during the recent sequence of domestic money tournaments, two of which were assembled by Andy’s brother Jamie Murray.
“Without the Murray brothers, British tennis would be in a whole different position,” said Broady. “I have been so amazed with the way Andy has carried himself. We see him speaking out in the press a lot for people who need to be helped. He is the champion of the people in a sense.
“From what I’ve seen, Andy is trying to create a new culture in British tennis. He did a little speech at the end of the team event saying that British players are often seen as being soft and this week proved a lot of people wrong.
“He doesn’t have to do any of this. He could take his millions and live in his palace and do whatever he wants but he is a genuinely good person who is trying to help the state of British tennis, the British game.”
Andy Murray was granted a wild card into the US Open at the weekend, but after a batch of men pulled out of the event, it turned out that he will not need it after all, gaining direct entry on his world ranking of No 129. Several more women joined the list of refuseniks on Monday, including two-time slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova.