In Summary
  • The Scot would prefer to go out in a blaze of glory on home territory at Wimbledon, but may not get that far with next week's Australian Open shaping as potentially his last event.

MELBOURNE

Reaching world number one in an era of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal speaks volumes about the drive of Andy Murray, who took up the game as a three-year-old.

But at 31, excruciating pain from a hip injury is drawing the curtain on a professional career that spanned 14 years and ended a decades-long drought for British tennis.

The Scot would prefer to go out in a blaze of glory on home territory at Wimbledon, but may not get that far with next week's Australian Open shaping as potentially his last event.

His has been a glittering career, but it may have been very different.

In a terrifying twist of fate, an eight-year-old Murray hid himself away during the Dunblane school massacre that claimed the lives of 16 children and one teacher in 1996.

A 43-year-old man with 700 rounds of ammunition opened fire on Murray's schoolmates before shooting himself in a gymnasium that Murray had been on his way to at the time.

He is a big football fan and could also have gone down that path when offered a trial with Scottish giants Rangers. But he opted for tennis instead, encouraged by his mother Judy, and moved to a renowned academy in Barcelona as a 15-year-old.

There he honed his skills - developing a rare counterpunching style that valued speed, finesse and fitness over raw power - before turning professional in 2005, making five semi-finals in a breakout year.

Murray showcased his talent to the world by reaching his first major final at the US Open in 2008, only to lose to the already incomparable Federer, who beat him again in the Australian Open final two years later.

By the time Murray was beaten by the Swiss maestro at Wimbledon in 2012, he feared he would never be able to call himself a Grand Slam champion.

But his remarkable work ethic and intense focus were rewarded during a purple patch under the guidance of demanding coach Ivan Lendl.

In 2012 he emulated legendary Briton Fred Perry's 1936 achievement by winning the US Open, beating defending champion Djokovic in four hours 54 minutes.

It was the equal-longest final at Flushing Meadows in history, and finally gave Murray the major title he had been craving.

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