After winning the Davis Cup final with a straight sets victory over David Goffin, Andy Murray quipped he and his Great Britain team-mates deserve knighthoods for their efforts.
While it’s a bit of stretch to suggest the rest of the squad deserve such an honour, in all seriousness, what about the long serving UK tennis No.1?
After all, there are plenty of reasons to argue in his favour. Such as...
He’s the greatest ever UK male tennis player
Murray is not the most decorated singles star in British tennis history. That distinction goes to Fred Perry who, along with being the last player to win Wimbledon and lead a British team to Davis Cup glory prior to Murray’s heroics, also scooped the Australian, US and French Open titles in his time.
However, Perry played in an era with less competition, and Murray would have earned more titles himself, perhaps even as many as Perry’s eight grand slams, had his career not come at the same time as three of the greatest ever tennis stars – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Who would win a match if they faced off against each other in their prime? Murray or Perry? Murray is the obvious answer.
Of course, the Scot has the advantage of playing in the modern era, where the rise of sports science has helped athletes become fitter, stronger, fastest and hone their technique in a more efficient manner. But why should we discount those advantages? It’s what makes him the player he is – the best to ever play tennis in the UK.
He belongs among the sporting knighthood fraternity
Sir Stanley Matthews was one of the greatest footballers of his generation, some would say one of the greatest to have ever lived. Had he came along in a different era, chances are he would have won a lot more than one FA Cup and two second tier titles.
Then there is Sir Geoff Hurst. He had a great career, scoring over 200 goals for West Ham United and Stoke City. It would not have been particularly legendary career, however, had he not netted three goals in the World Cup Final. The only British football player to do so.
This is not an attempt to slight those players and say they don’t deserve their knighthoods, because they certainly do. It’s just to make the case that if other sport stars, such as this duo, have been given knighthoods then Murray deserves one also.
He is a once in a lifetime star
While it’s unfair on his Davis Cup team-mates, including brother Jamie, to suggest he won the trophy entirely by himself, there’s no doubt Britain would have needed a Hollywood film style miracle to end 79 year wait for glory in the competition.
And that’s not the only long, miserable run Britain endured before Murray came along. When he captured the Wimbledon crown in 2013 he ended a 77-year span without a UK male tennis player winning the singles title.
He’s an Olympic gold medallist
Dame Kelly Holmes, Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Chris Hoy, the list goes on. If you can win Olympic gold for Great Britain then it greatly increases your chances of getting a knighthood. Sure, tennis is not considered a prestigious Olympic sport, and those other stars have won multiple golds, but it still counts in Murray’s favour.
He’s a role model and an ambassador for the game
When knighthoods are given out, a contribution to society as a whole is also considered.
Murray may have begun life as a pouting, moody and hot tempered teenager on the court, a persona he took a while to shift, but he’s since matured into the type of athlete that the country can be proud of and one kids look up to.
It may be his mother Judy who lobbies harder for more investment in grass roots tennis and increased accessibility for young people, but no-one would listen to her were it not for Andy’s on court heroics.
He does a power of charity work
Murray uses his privileged position to give back to the wider world. Last year he was named a recipient of the ATP’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in recognition of his charity work.
In addition to doing work for Unicef, United for Wildlife and Malaria No More, he has also played large roles in helping to organise the Rally For Bally event in memory of Elena Balatcha, and Ross Hutchins’ Rally Against Cancer event the previous year.