Many people have said that, this year, SPOTY will be harder than ever.
A WONDERFUL year certainly, but not a hard choice.
If you know me at all, you’ll not be surprised when I tell you that I think Andy Murray should get the nod. I will now attempt to justify myself.
(1) Strength of opposition: Murray is playing tennis in what is widely regarded as the period of highest quality of men’s tennis ever. Let’s face it, Rafa and Roger are regarded as two of the VERY BEST players in tennis history. Right now, those two are BEHIND Novak and Andy! That is a serious statement; if you’re not a tennis fan, you may struggle to appreciate its significance. In this regard, only Rory McIlroy can hold a candle to Andy; having put Tiger Woods firmly in his place.
(2) Burden of expectation: Murray has had the pressure heaped mercilessly on his shoulders. It started as soon as people realised there was another Brit after Tim Henman. Added to this, are idiots who keep on about him being British (when he wins) or Scottish (when he loses). An American after-match commentator even called him English. Since he was 17 people have been telling him that the time a Brit won a slam was in 1936. To shut some folk up he has (nearly always) displayed a winning record against Roger Federer (the greatest ever player ever, they say) … but he’s only done that in 3 set matches, so it doesn’t really count (they say). He has been ridiculed for failure and chastised for success. No-one else on the SPOTY has come close to this level of irk.
(3) Not “only” the Olympics: A few athletes have achieved mighty feats this year, to be sure. But only Murray and Wiggins, that I’m aware of, have really achieved the majestic as well as an Olympic gold medal (incidentally, the only “singles title” Roger Federer hasn’t won). Bradley’s Tour de France win, the first Brit in 109 years, was completely spectacular. And I do realise that it is really hard for Olympic athletes to shine as brightly in non-Olympic years; but as acknowledged before, this has been a special year!
(4) Stunning Good Looks: OK, Murray does not win this, and for this title I can’t see past Jessica Ennis. But really, it’s a personality contest, isn’t it?! Well, that’s what it’s laughably called, but so far as I know a good sense of humour hasn’t won anyone this prize yet.
(5) The Double: Mo Farah was awesome .. no doubt. Two gold medals. Incredible. Murray only got one gold, one silver. But to be fair, Mo’s gold double was astonishing and he does seem like a top bloke.
Basically, whatever argument I use, Murray comes out near the top. Cumulatively, that must put him on the very top of the pile.