‘Knighthood is nice but I don’t feel like Sir Andy,’ says Murray
Andy Murray is happy to have a sir in front of his name – even if it will take some getting used to. The world No1 was given a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours after a spectacular season that brought him a second Wimbledon title and an Olympic gold medal.
Murray had previously said that at 29 he felt too young to receive the honour, but the clamour had been growing and he was among a number of high-profile sporting stars to be recognised. Mo Farah and Lee Pearson were also knighted while Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katherine Grainger were made dames.
Murray gave his first reaction to the news after beating Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6 at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
The Scot said in comments reported by the BBC: “I still feel like Andy Murray – that feels more normal – but I am happy with the knighthood and it is a nice way to start the new year.”
As well as his Wimbledon and Rio successes, Murray also reached grandslam finals in Australia and France and overhauled Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings with a stunning run to finish the season.
The Scot won 24 matches in a row, claiming titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and Paris before beating Djokovic in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in London to clinch the year-end No 1 position.
He lost for the first time since September in his opening match in Abu Dhabi against David Goffin on Friday, although the exhibition status of the event means it does not count in official records.
It was not the way Murray would have wanted to start the new season, though, so it was a boost to finish the tournament with victory over world No 3 Raonic. “It was good to finish the year with a win,” said Murray. “It was a good match to work on returns as Milos has a strong serve.”
The 29-year-old will hope to pick up where he left off when he begins the new ATP Tour season at the Qatar Open in Doha next week, before aiming to defend his ranking at the Australian Open starting on Jan 16. Murray has been the runner-up in the men’s singles competition in Australia five times but has yet to win it.
Rafael Nadal ended an injuryplagued year on a high by lifting the Mubadala World Tennis Championship title for a fourth time. The 30-year-old Spaniard defeated 11th-ranked Belgian Goffin 6-4, 7-6. “I’m very happy to return to competition again. These three days, playing at this level, are going to stand me in good stead for the rest of the season,” said Nadal.
On a high: Andy Murray celebrated his honour with a win in Abu Dhabi yesterday