It is often remarked that the British press’s description of world number five tennis player and Scotsman Andy Murray depends on how well he is playing in the latest tennis tournament. If he is doing well, he is British, but if his game is going badly, he reverts to being Scottish.
Murray himself has said he is ‘Scottish, but also British’, but it seems that for now, the British public feels the sportsman’s identity lies firmly to the north of the border. In the first result of our forthcoming ‘Murray (nationality) tracker', taken immediately after his latest defeat, to Novak Djokovic, in the Australian Open:
- 59% viewed Andy Murray as a mainly Scottish sportsman
- 29% saw him primarily as a British sportsman
The first of our ‘Murray tracker’ results, this marks the beginning of our plans to plot if and how the public’s mood changes towards the player’s nationality as his game prospects change.
Murray has previously polarised opinion with apparently light-hearted comments about England, attracting tabloid criticism by saying that he would support ‘anyone but England’ in the 2006 football World Cup. He later responded to the media backlash by saying his comments had been made ‘in jest’.
Serving up victory
From the same poll, British opinion was fairly evenly split in a recent poll over whether Murray would ever win a major tournament.
- 44% thought it unlikely that Murray will achieve victory in a major tournament
- But a comparable 43% of people believed that he will achieve success in the future
The player has yet to win any key tournaments, losing out in the finals of both the 2010 Australian Open and the 2008 US Open.