Win his match today against Rafa Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals in London and British tennis ace Andy Murray will guarantee a year-end number 2 ranking and almost certainly book a semi-final spot.This all means that he will not be able to leave before Saturday evening or Sunday if he makes the Final. Why is this significant? Because he happens to have a Davis Cup Final against Belgium at the Flanders Expo in Ghent five days later, which will be played on clay and not the hard-court surface at the O2. Obviously having more time to practice on the ‘red dirt’ would be advantageous but I guess he’ll see plenty of it since he is likely to play on all three days of the premier international men’s teams event in order to win his first Davis Cup and Britain’s first since 1936. He trails Rafa 15-6 in the head-to head over eight years, but did beat him on the Spaniard’s favoured clay in Madrid in their only match this year. Their 2010 three-set semi was a real cracker with Rafa winning on the close final set tie-break. Given the one-sided matches at the Finals this year, which one sports writer called a ‘lingering malaise’, everyone’s hoping for a repeat of their match five years ago. Andy signed this sketch for me on his way into the O2 to practice last Saturday.
Here’s a doozy of a dilemma for you. When the world’s top 8 men’s tennis players are walking towards you on a chilly London night on the Greenwich peninsula, dressed to the nines, heading to the O2 pier and a ferry to take them to the opening gala for the year ending ATP World Tour Finals, who do you get? Signature wise, I mean.
Security warned the small group of us waiting that they were late and in a hurry. Nothing new there. I calculated that I only had a few minutes. There was one other ‘grapher in the group, the rest were after selfies – that could slow them down a fraction…
Because Andy Murray wasn’t at last year’s event, he was my top priority. In fact, I actually had two sketches of him, but he has a quick siggy and is always obliging. Mission accomplished and both signed – one even dedicated. This is the other one.
Described as the best counter puncher in men’s tennis today, Andy Murray returned to London’s O2 this week for the ATP World Tour Finals after an arduous six weeks and three titles to gain the necessary ranking points to make up the top eight at the end-of-season finale.
The 27 year old Scot has a current world ranking of six and is fifth all time leader in earnings. He has won 31 titles, including two slams. In 2012 he won the US Open and the following year he claimed the WImbledon Championship, defeating current world number one, Novak Djokovic on both occasions. Andy also wn the singles gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics and a silver with Laura Robson in the mixed doubles.
Assked if he was Scottish or British, Andy replied, in jest, “depends if I’m winning.”
Andy signed this sketch at the O2 pier before boarding the clipper to attend the WTF launch gala.