Andy Murray wins SPOTY but refuses to be a media darling
The Wimbledon champion polls more votes than all his rivals combined as he romps to BBC award
NEVER has the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award been such a walkover. As expected, Wimbledon champion Andy Murray won the accolade last night but in doing so he became the first winner to poll more than 50 per cent of the vote, collecting more than his nine rivals combined.
Murray eventually received 401,470 votes, around 56 per cent of the online and phone poll, and six times more than the 65,913 received by runner up, rugby star Leigh Halfpenny. Jockey AP McCoy was third, with 57,854.
"The Scot was the shortest priced favourite in the 60 years of the prize, despite another stellar sporting year that included a British victory in the Tour de France, a home Ashes victory and the first British and Irish Lions victory overseas for 16 years," reports The Guardian.
But a British man winning Wimbledon for the first time in 77 years trumps all of those achievements, even if the man in question had previously had something of an image problem.
"There was a time when the idea of Andy Murray being clasped to the bosom of the wider sporting public seemed just as remote as the prospect of a British man winning Wimbledon had been to previous generations," says The Times. "But last night the Scot's place in the nation's affections was confirmed."
It adds that Murray's tears after his 2012 Wimbledon final defeat to Roger Federer helped break down the "carapace" that made him "unreachable" to many sports fans. However, the paper also notes that Murray did his best to prove that he was no media darling.
Not only was he not at the ceremony to receive the award - he is training in Miami ahead of next month's Australian Open - he also managed to miss his cue for an interview as he was in the shower after a three-and-a-half hour training session. Murray's mother Judy stepped in to hold the fort until Andy was ready.
But his decision to remain in the US should be applauded, says the Daily Mirror. "We should be grateful an elite athlete remains so in thrall to his coach, Ivan Lendl, that he refused to break camp, and his preparations for next month's Australian Open, to let a 12,000 audience fawn all over him."
It is typical of the man, says BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller. "He doesn't crave celebrity, or particularly enjoy the limelight, and would rather be out walking the dogs with his girlfriend Kim than strolling down the red carpet in his tux. But the emotion in his voice as he accepted the award from Martina Navratilova in Miami was evident: this means an enormous amount to him, and he would have loved to be in Leeds to accept the award in person."
Murray even managed to crack a joke at his own expense, noting that he had an "incredibly boring" voice. It was a "nice line" from a "man who has character and never bothers about trying to be a character", says the Daily Telegraph. ·