ANDY Murray’s triumph on Wimbledon’s Centre Court could see him elevated into an elite group of Scottish sporting heroes awarded knighthoods, the Prime Minister indicated yesterday.
Twenty-four hours after becoming the first British man since Fred Perry to win the singles title at SW19, the Murray embarked on a punishing schedule of media interviews before a meeting with David Cameron at 10 Downing Street yesterday afternoon.
Asked about the possibility of the Scot becoming Sir Andy, the Prime Minister said he could not think of anyone who deserved the honour more.
Earlier, Murray had arrived at the All England Club after little more than an hour’s sleep following the Wimbledon Champion’s Ball on Sunday night.
Answering questions from fans on Twitter, the player said he had not taken the famous trophy to bed, curling up instead with his border terriers Maggie and Rusty.
He said he hoped to return home to Scotland soon, but also planned to take a well-earned holiday. “I do want to go back, I’m not sure about when it will happen,” he said.
“I haven’t had much time to think or co-ordinate things. I want to go away on holiday and try and get rest, because the last few weeks have been pretty stressful for me.”
At Downing Street, Murray was greeted by the Prime Minister, who told waiting reporters he was “incredibly proud” of the Scot’s achievement.
Asked earlier about Murray being awarded a knighthood, Mr Cameron had said: “Honours are decided independently but, frankly, I can’t think of anyone who deserves one more.”
Mr Cameron, who watched the straight-sets victory from the Royal Box, said: “It was a fantastic day for Andy Murray, for British tennis and for Britain. I think he lifted the spirits of the whole country.”
Murray also met Labour leader Ed Miliband, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson in the garden at Number 10.
Mr Robertson said: “I was absolutely delighted to be able to congratulate Andy Murray in person. He has worked tirelessly over many years to get to the very top of tennis, and it is just fantastic to see his all hard work pay off in such grand style.”
Mr Clegg tweeted: “Pleasure to meet @andymurray today. He’s a true British champion.”
Murray, wearing a smart navy suit, sipped from a glass of water as he chatted with the political leaders.
Commenting on the possibility of receiving a knighthood, he said the honour would be a “nice thing to have”, but questioned whether he deserved it.
“I think just because everyone’s waited for such a long time for this, that’s probably why it’ll be suggested, but I don’t know if it merits that. I don’t know,” he said.
Murray was made an OBE following his Olympic and US Open triumphs last year. Should he be awarded a knighthood, he would join Scottish sporting greats such as Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Jackie Stewart and former Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan in receiving the honour.
The British No 1 has been inundated with messages of support since his win on Sunday, including from Sir Alex.
Murray said: “I got a message from him yesterday and this morning.
“He’s going on a cruise up the coast of Scotland so he wasn’t able to come [to the final]. He said to me that he always wanted to do that [cruise]. Ten days he said it takes and he’d never done it in his life because he never took ten days off from his work.
“It’s an unbelievable work ethic for such a long period of time. He’s a really impressive guy and you can learn a lot from him.”
The Scottish Government is today expected to make a joint announcement with Sport Scotland and Tennis Scotland, outlining new investment to further develop the sport in Scotland.
Building on Murray’s success, the announcement will give details of a multi-million pound investment in tennis facilities across the country.
Whether or not Murray is knighted, his historic win on Centre Court has pushed him into a new level of exposure, according to experts.
Steve Martin, chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment, said: “If you look at the [TV] viewing figures of 17 million – that has put him into a legendary status within the British Isles, and it is pretty remarkable what he has done.
“There is no question his appeal for brand and sponsors will go up. To the British audience in particular, he has gone to superstar status within 24 hours.”