Andy Murray touches down to a hero’s welcome

ANDY Murray has returned home a hero following his historic grand slam victory in the US Open in New York.

The tennis star flew into Heathrow’s Terminal 5 yesterday morning, with his girlfriend Kim Sears, to be greeted by cheers from fans, airport staff and holidaymakers.

Murray, dressed casually in jeans and a hooded top, was grinning from ear to ear as he strolled off the plane and into the terminal surrounded by flight attendants before posing happily for pictures with well-wishers as he waited to collected his luggage.

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Scots fans are hoping Murray, 25, who won a gold medal at the London Olympics, will attend the official victory Homecoming Parade in Glasgow tomorrow to honour Scotland’s Olympic and Paralympic champions.

Last night, sportscotland, which is organising the parade, said it was waiting to hear from Murray’s agent.

Most athletes have confirmed their acceptance, including cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy, Katherine Grainger, Michael Jamieson and Neil Fachie. Last night, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said preparations were well under way to give Murray the “hero’s welcome he deserves” on his return to Scotland.

But while yesterday’s welcome home was a rather subdued affair, the clamour grows for Murray to be knighted or awarded the Freedom of the City of Stirling.

A source close to the Dunblane-born player said he needed to take a few days out “to get his head right”.

Murray said: “Sport has been this huge part of my life since I was a kid and it’s been the best summer of sport in my lifetime and I’m sure in most people’s.”

But he admitted before leaving New York that he was uncertain what reaction his new status would bring, on his return home.

“It’s something that will probably take a bit of getting used to. It’s not something I’ve always been that comfortable with.”

Murray had also consulted his coach Ivan Lendl amid concern that winning a grand slam could change his life beyond recognition.

“I spoke to Ivan a couple of times during the year and he asked me, ‘What worries you?’

“I said that I worry what might happen if I win a major, how my life might change, because I want it to be the same.

“He said he felt the same thing but all that happens is you get more people congratulating you and you get nicer tables in restaurants and to play on all the good golf courses for free.”

The Scot became the first British man in 76 years to win a major singles title when he beat Novak Djokovic in a gruelling five-set thriller at Flushing Meadows.

Dr Carol Craig, chief executive of the Centre for Confidence and Well-Being in Glasgow, and author of The Scots’ Crisis of Confidence, said Murray may now be realising such a high achievement brings its own pressures.

“Success brings with it incredibly high expectations of you which can cause anxiety over maintaining that level in the spotlight,” said Dr Craig.

“It’s interesting that he has communicated what he feels. But I think that fear of success is not that uncommon because there is more pressure on you to succeed next time.”