Andy Murray receives knighthood in Queen's 2016 honours list
He will now be known as Sir Andy Murray.
What’s the story?
Men’s tennis’ World No. 1 Andy Murray has received a knighthood in the 2016 Queen’s Honours list, it has been revealed. The list, which was reaveled last night, will also see Olympic champion runner Mo Farah knighted, while heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill becomes a dame.
Murray will now be addressed as Sir Andy Murray professionally.
The move comes after months of speculation that Murray, Great Britain’s first No. 1 tennis player in the Open Era, said he was “too young for a knighthood.” In an interview at the time, he said “...obviously it is the highest honour you can get in this country,' he said. 'I don't know, I feel too young for something like that. I could still mess up and make mistakes ... I am just trying to keep doing what I am doing, working hard, and achieving stuff.'
In case you didn’t know...
Following Murray’s Wimbledon win, several sources alleged Murray would receive the honours – with those rumours finally confirmed. He is one of the youngest athletes to be knighted, and his knighthood is atypical in several ways.
At 29 years old, Murray is much younger than a number of other honorees; sportspersons and athletes are typically knighted towards the end of their careers, while Murray’s has just reached its peak.
Great Britain has had tennis talent in the past, but not since Fred Perry has it had a No. 1, and the country has not had many men’s singles stars to speak of. The last prominent male tennis icon from the country was Tim Henman, who retired nearly a decade ago in 2007. Henman was the British No. 1 until 2005, at which point Murray, who was then lower-ranked than he is now, took that mantle.
Henman’s career was not as successful as Murray’s has been, however. The older player made the semi-finals of six Grand Slams but was never able to progress beyond that stage, while Murray made eleven Grand Slam finals, winning three.
The heart of the matter
The knighthood tops what has been a spectacular year for Murray. Murray won his third Grand Slam title this year at Wimbledon, and with a host of other titles chipped away at an 8,000 point lead built up by then-reigning World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Murray then won the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals, sealing his status as the year-ending No. 1. He beat Djokovic on multiple occasions this year, most recently at the finals of the ATP Tour Finals in London.
This year has also been one of Murray’s best on the personal front; his first child, Sophia was born in February, and Murray has credited his new daughter with adding more stability to his life.
The 29-year-old is one of the biggest sporting stars in a country that has not seen much success in singles tennis over the years.
Going forward, the Scot will be addressed as Sir Andy Murray, although he has requested organisers at Wimbledon, where he will in 2017 be the defending champion, not to use that title in announcements.
Murray’s form has been noteworthy, significantly because of his singular consistency over the 2016 season. He has been one of the few players to, in the season and over a number of years, not struggle with injuries, form or breakdowns; the Scot has not retired from a single match played this year.
In addition, Murray’s fitness is considered near-unparalleled on tour.
Mentally one of the strongest players on the tour, the Scot can only go up from here. Given the number of points Novak Djokovic will be defending in the 2017 season, Murray, who ended 2016 as the World No. 1 tennis player, will keep his title comfortably up until the clay court season, following which he can continue to keep it if his form is as consistent.
Murray suffered a surprise loss last night at the exhibition Mubadala Tennis Championships to David Goffin in straight sets, but that will not have any bearing on his points or ranking as the Mubadala Championships are not part of the ATP World Tour.
Murray’s knighthood is unsurprising – Great Britain, which has produced rowing, cycling and athletics stars for years, has not seen as much tennis success over the years as Andy Murray has brought in recent years.
Perhaps he is much younger than the average demographic in receiving this knighthood – but considering it has been his absolutely best year yet, Murray more than deserves the honour.