There has been a myth doing the rounds concerning Andy Murray over the years that he is too dour for his own good, he is emotionless, a cold fish with little humour or personality. Now I can't profess to know the new US Open tennis champion particularly well, but I have come across him from time to time on a one to one basis and at no point have I ever been in the company of that Scot depicted by the media and believed by the public. Far from it.
Five years ago I took him on in a one set match at the Queen's Club. It will not surprise you to know that he beat me 6-0, although my first return of his first serve caught him (and me) by surprise. On another point I got to a drop shot and hit a passing winner from my bloodied knees. He was impressed, so he said, with my commitment, shaking his head at the battered state of my legs and knees. The 20 minutes was played from start to finish in great humour. Later he would bemoan the fact that his well-chronicled, jocular comment concerning not supporting the England football team should be taken so out of context.
In May, prior to Queen's, we talked about his great support of Hibernian FC in Edinburgh. Murray instantly became just another frustrated football fan. Those who keep his company regularly - even seasoned tennis writers - will tell you that he is engaging company, likes to have a chat and a laugh, especially against himself.
What swung it for the public were three events at Wimbledon this summer. The first was his tearful loser's speech after Roger Federer had beaten him in the Wimbledon final. The second was his spontaneous hug with the small boy in the crowd after he had just won the Olympic gold medal, also at the All England Club. The third took place on Monday when he became the first British tennis player for 76 years to win a Slam. Now Andy Murray is fully accepted, supported and appreciated by the British public, and not before time.
As a footnote it is also so good to see so many people back in Dunblane cheering and smiling. The city may have moved on from the horrific day back in 1996 when Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and a teacher at a school attended by Andy and Jamie Murray, but it will still welcome unbridled joy and pride. Murray has provided this in spades and they, and we, should salute him for making a nation happy once again in this most sporting of British summers.