UK ‘backs Andy Murray despite independence view’

ANDY Murray remains a “big fan favourite” among British supporters despite his call for Scottish independence, according to a leading fans’ group.

Murray won the Wimbledon title in 2013. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Britain’s biggest tennis star made a late intervention in the debate on whether Scotland should break from the UK by posting a message on Twitter backing the Yes campaign, just hours before the polls opened.

The 28-year-old Scot told his followers last September: “Huge day for Scotland today! no campaign negativity last few days totally swayed my view on it. excited to see the outcome. lets do this!”

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Independence was ultimately rejected by a margin of 55 per cent to 45 per cent but Murray was subjected to online abuse after airing his views on the social media site.

Mary Pope, chairwoman of the British Association of Tennis Supporters, said Murray did not need to worry about his level of support at Wimbledon next week.

“His support is a given,” she said. “Everyone is really enthusiastic about Andy. Lots of people will be queuing overnight when his matches are on the next day.

“He’s the big fan favourite.”

Asked whether Murray’s views on Scottish independence would affect his support, she replied: “No, that’s a done deal. We don’t need to worry about that.

“We’re all British and we’re very much following the British players.

“He’s said he’s British and he’s committed to the Davis Cup team.

“There’ll be Scottish flags and Union flags.”

Following September’s referendum result, Murray said he had no regrets about declaring his support for a Yes vote but had reservations about the way he did it.

He told the BBC: “I don’t regret giving an opinion. I think everyone should be allowed that. The way I did it, yeah, it wasn’t something I would do again.”

Murray, who lives in Surrey with his wife Kim, did not have a vote because he does not live in Scotland.

The 2013 Wimbledon champion had been quizzed on the issue previously but dodged the question, although in an interview in June he criticised Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond for waving the country’s flag at the tournament last year.

In 2006, he courted controversy when he said he would support “anyone but England” in the World Cup.