Andy Murray must win SPOTY for leading Britain to Davis Cup
Andy Murray’s contribution to a successful Davis Cup campaign has established him as a British sporting great
Andy Murray steered Great Britain to a first Davis Cup triumph in 79 years in Ghent and his heroics mean that he is now "up there with the greatest sports stars Britain has ever had", says Rick Broadbent in The Times.
He might not "fit the template for a sporting icon" in the eyes of many, but he is a "very modern man" and he should be lauded before it is too late.
"British history has few solo performers to match Murray. Now he is a team winner too. We will probably only appreciate him after another 77-year wait at Wimbledon," he says.
John Greechan of the Daily Mail agrees. "It is up to each and every fair-minded sports fan in the UK to ensure that Murray’s contribution, his sheer bloody brilliance, is never forgotten, belittled or glossed over by the one-eyed naysayers whose shrill objections and miserly faint praise sound increasingly out of step," he says.
It was an "almost private defeat" of Belgium, writes Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph – Murray was responsible for two-and-a-half of Britain's three points, and his brother Jamie provided the other half – but it counts as a "national contribution" and it should earn him the Sports Personality of the Year award.
Lewis Hamilton, Tyson Fury and Jessica Ennis-Hill are the other contenders "but nothing could wipe the lustre off Murray's efforts to establish himself as an authentic British legend, in a sport where he has had to fight for every inch of ground", says Hayward.
"His accomplishments are never dressed up with false claims. This one rendered him the 'most emotional' he has been in victory. It was conceived and executed by him, as a lone star, but for everyone to share."
Britain won 12 points during their run to the title, and Murray was involved in 11 of them. He became only the third man after John McEnroe and Mats Wilander to end a campaign with an 8-0 singles record and was the first since Pete Sampras to win three live rubbers in the final.
Murray has become "the nation's most garlanded athlete," says Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian. And has helped rejuvenate British tennis, "for so long the punchline to gags about national sporting ineptitude".
It is now up to the Lawn Tennis Assocation to "capitalise on a victory that, if properly harnessed, has the potential to drive participation numbers through the roof", adds John Greechan of the Mail.