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Greg Rusedski blog: Murray still my tip for Sports Personality glory

December 11, 2012

With Britain’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year approaching fast, it is going to be one of the most difficult years to win because of the brilliant performances of so many British athletes.

I cannot remember a year with more British sporting success. Andy Murray has had the best year of his career, becoming the first British man to win a major in 76 years. On top of that, he won Olympic gold at Wimbledon in singles, silver in the mixed doubles and also reached the Wimbledon singles final.

Most years he would be a shoe-in to win, except for the amazing feats of Bradley Wiggins and Mo Farah.

Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France and Olympic gold. Mo Farah won gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000, which no British man has done before. This will most likely be the top three for BBC Sports Personality.

Bradley Wiggins is the bookies’ favourite at the moment, but this year there are at least 15 athletes who could have easily won the award in any other year.

As a former winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, I would like to make a case for fellow tennis pro Andy Murray.

Andy was very bold at the end of 2011 to choose former world number one and eight-time grand slam champion Ivan Lendl as his coach.

They have had very similar career paths. Each one was known as a nearly man. Lendl had gone through all the same ups and downs as Andy, and came through to be one of the greats. Andy could have stayed on his path but decided to take a risk by hiring Lendl to try to win majors and to become world number one.

Ivan brought experience, knowledge and the extra key, a good sports psychologist, to give Andy that extra edge.

In January this year he started working with Ivan’s sports psychologist and became a more aggressive player, which is not his natural instinct. Technically this improved his serve, forehand, volley and overhead.

These are not easy areas to improve if you had not believed the changes were necessary.

The belief never faltered and Andy went on to the Wimbledon final, becoming the first British man to do so since 1938. Andy went on to lose, but the nation got to see a glimpse of what it meant to him when he broke down and cried during his interview with Sue Barker after the loss to Roger Federer.

From there he grew in stature and went on to destroy the great Federer in the Olympic final also at Wimbledon, where under a month earlier he had lost.

In his fifth major final, like Ivan Lendl, Andy defeated Novak Djokovic in five brutal sets to become Britain’s first major winner in 76 years. This is such a remarkable sporting achievement because he is in an era with two of the greatest players of all time and a number one in Djokovic, who is also destined to be one of the greats of the game.

Andy keeps on pushing the bar and do not be surprised by the end of 2013 if Andy is the first British man to be world number one in the open era.

Andy Murray would be a deserved winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and my choice. Now though, it comes down to the British public. I personally cannot wait to see what happens on Dec. 16 and I am keeping my fingers crossed for Andy.

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