By Venatius Ikem
My interest in Andy Murray as a tennis player started many years ago when I read a comment by England’s richest man, Richard Branson of the Virgin brands fame. I can’t recall precisely where he was interviewed but I recall his vivid prediction that Andy Murray was going to get to world No 1, in tennis someday, after watching him play at age 16 or so.
I am not exactly a tennis enthusiast but I do dabble into many passions even if without much personal attachment. Like football. Like Basketball. Like golf. Like Formula 1. And most by such similar accidents!
Since then I have watched him move agonizingly slowly up and down that table until he won the Wimbledon Trophy, one of tennis’ most prestigious trophies and returned Britain’s lost glory in the sport, moving on to win the Olympics gold medal and eventually this week, making the final peak as World No. 1 tennis player!
Sometimes seemingly innocuous things like that interview attract my attention and with it my interest in some sports. When Michael Schumacher dominated the world of formula 1 racing I got bored and turned off until I watched as Lewis Hamilton made history as the first black man to win this most prestigious of sports competitions. The first live televised Formula 1 race I watched was that nail biting final race! Ditto for Tiger Woods and golf.
The story of Monica Seles’ attack by a stalker and her eventual comeback a couple of years later to rise steadily to World No. 1 and thereby accomplishing the dream I had thought ended, started my interest in female tennis before the Williams girls came on the scene.
It is not all great athletes that make it to the peak of their careers. I wanted to be sure that that prediction was not an idle one.
I do take Sir Richard Branson seriously, not because of his wealth but because of the unorthodox WAY he created his wealth and lives his life and most importantly his legendary instincts! His autobiography : Losing my virginity, is indeed for me an incredible account of what looks impossible, yet is a living testimony of greatness, bravery and a mix of unorthodox living and ethical business from an unusual character.
I want to join to celebrate the realization of this great vision as this demur looking boy, Andy breaks one record after another in British tennis history.
At a time like this he is famously referred to as “British ” by the British Press. When he was struggling he sometimes was the “Scot”!
Congratulations, Andy Murray!