IT WAS one of the defining moments of the year and one of Scotland’s greatest sporting triumphs of all time.
Now Andy Murray’s memorable victory at Wimbledon, when he became the first British male to taste glory there for 77 years, has seen him named the “Top Scot” of 2013.
His famous defeat of Novak Djokovic, a year on from losing to Roger Federer in his first Wimbledon final, earned him the prestigious honour at the annual Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards.
He has followed in the footsteps of fellow Scottish Olympic heroes Sir Chris Hoy, Katherine Grainger and Shirley Robertson by claiming the “Top Scot” prize, which was accepted by his mother Judy at the gala ceremony in Edinburgh last night.
Murray sent a special message from his base in Miami to the ceremony at the Prestonfield hotel saying: “I’m really sorry I can’t be with you.
“I’m over training in Miami recovering from my back surgery. I’m very proud to have won the Top Scot and the best sportsman award.
“The Scottish public have supported me always, whether winning or losing or making inappropriate jokes about the English football team. They have always stuck behind me and I really appreciate that.”
Other previous winners of the Top Scot honour – which is decided via an open vote – have included authors Ian Rankin and JK Rowling, and singer Susan Boyle.
Murray also won the sport category in the awards, the second time he has claimed the honour after winning in 2005, just months after making his Wimbledon debut. Actress Kate Dickie, author William McIlvanney, and chef Tony Singh were among the other winners at the 16th annual Spirit of Scotland Awards, organised by malt whisky brand Glenfiddich and The Scotsman to recognise excellence across the nation’s cultural spectrum.
Judy Murray said: “The Spirit of Scotland Awards are a fantastic event. I’ve been a couple of times in the past and Andy won the sports award once before, but this is the first time he’s won the Top Scot award.
“He was absolutely delighted when he heard about it. It’s always great to be recognised in your own country, so this is a big thing for him.
Ian Stewart, editor of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, said: “Andy Murray has for a long time been a fantastic ambassador for Scotland and for Scottish sport. He was already a Grand Slam winner and the holder of Olympic gold.
“But even in the high-achieving world of Andy Murray, winning Wimbledon was special, and it is only right that is marked and celebrated. 2013 was a momentous year for Andy Murray, and this award is a fitting accolade.”
Nominees were chosen by a panel of judges, with the public voting for their favourites for awards which have grown to be regarded as among the nation’s leading honours.
Screen: Kate Dickie
The actress who shot to fame in Red Road has had a prolific year with starring roles in the Bafta Scotland-winning drama For Those In Peril, as well as Filth and Not Another Happy Ending.
Environment: Gordon Buchanan
Originally from the Isle of Mull, Buchanan is a renowned wildlife cameraman, whose recent work includes The Polar Bear Family and Me.
Art: Ross Sinclair
The Glasgow artist flooded Edinburgh with more than 45,000 different works of art, including billboards, posters, beer mats, postcards, badges and even vinyl records, featuring the likes of writers, pop stars, footballers and painters.
Music: Donald Runnicles
Scotland’s greatest living conductor, Edinburgh-born Runnicles has been the figurehead of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra since 2009 and also holds major positions in the United States and Berlin.
Food: Tony Singh
After regular appearances on The Great British Menu, the Edinburgh-based chef joined forces with Cyrus Todiwala for BBC2 prime-time series The Incredible Spice Men.
Writing: William McIlvanney
The author known as “the father of Tartan Noir” is enjoying a revival of interest in his work since Canongate’s re-publication of his Laidlaw trilogy.
Business: The Lewis Family
Their food-based business, Mhor, located in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, includes two hotels, a restaurant, cafe and bread-making business.
Sport & Top Scot: Andy Murray
His 2012 Olympic Gold and first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year seemed tough acts to follow, but Murray rose to the challenge at Wimbledon in July.