There is something special about Andy Murray that sets him apart from all the British also-rans in living memory who have failed to win Wimbledon.
The Scottish braveheart is a rare breed for a Brit. He has skill, style and swagger with a delicious sprinkling of irreverent streetfighter that makes him a winner.
Maybe it is because he is a Scot, without the airs and graces of the privileged set who have served up generations of false hopes and predictable disappointments. In stark contrast, his predecessor as British No.1 Tim Henman was less of a tiger and more like the stereotypical English gentleman we expect to find at a typical Lawn Tennis Club.
Whether or not Murray reaches the holy grail and becomes the first British player in 75 years to win Wimbledon there is no doubt in my mind the 24 year old World No.4 from Dunblane is the real deal.
At times his raw passion and intensity reminds me of the great John McEnroe, the brash New Yorker who won the Wimbledon crown with a cocktail of brilliance and brutish aggression that regularly upset the establishment.
Murray is a talent with the hunger and genius to beat the best. But there is a big question mark against the Scot’s chances of winning the men’s singles title at the All-England Club. And it’s not because he lacks the quality to do so. It just so happens that he has not one, not two, but three great players standing in his way.
In Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer he faces the prospect of possibly having to conquer two of the greatest players ever to pick up a tennis racquet. While waiting in the wings is Novak Djokovic, this year’s form player who began 2011 with 42 straight wins.
With Murray safely through to the second week, we are still on course for the dream semi-final showdown between Murray and World No.1 Nadal. That will be a great sporting occasion to savour if both men get there in one piece. And I’ve a hunch that Murray will push the great Spaniard closer than many people expect if that epic contest becomes a reality. He is certainly growing in confidence following his tournament win at Queens with three impressive triumphs en route to the last 16.
“The matches are going to get tougher and tougher. But I’m ready,” was the Scot’s confident declaration after his third round win over the big-serving Ivan Ljubicic. And it was great to see the ferocity of the support on Centre Court with English bulldog Brian Moore mirroring the fist pumping actions of Murray on the big points.
Forget the petty tribal jealousy of some small-minded British sports fans, how great to see an English sporting legend give his unequivocal backing to a Scottish superstar.