23 Sep 2014

Yes or no? Will the real Andy Murray please stand up?

Andy Murray says his tweet backing the Scottish independence yes campaign was “out of character” – but this is not the first time that Murray has left fans confused about where his allegiances lie.

The British number one made a late intervention into the debate by posting a supportive message on Twitter just hours before the polls opened last Thursday.

The 27-year-old Scot told his followers: “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!”

Independence was ultimately rejected by a margin of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

Asked if he had any regrets about sending the tweet, Murray said: “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.

“I think it was a very emotional day for a lot of Scottish people and the whole country and the whole of the UK, it was a big day. The way it was worded, the way I sent it, that’s not really in my character and I don’t normally do stuff like that.”

Channel 4 News looks back at how Murry has battled between being Scottish and British:

Great British hope

Aged just 19 Murray announced himself to the tennis world by defeating the great Roger Federer at the Cincinnati Masters. He broke the Swiss maestro’s 55-match hard-court winning streak at Cincinnati, one of only five losses for Federer’s entire year.

Murray’s youthful form lacked pace, but there were hopes that he could eventually emulate Fred Perry – the last Brit to win Wimbledon in 1936.

‘Anyone but England’

Murray hit the headlines for the wrong reasons several months later when he joked that he would support “anyone but England” at the 2006 football World Cup.

He later retracted his comment saying: “I am Scottish. I am also British. I am not anti-English, I never was… what happened was a little joke that went wrong.”

World number two

In 2008 Murray beats Rafael Nadal at the 2008 US Open semifinals but loses to Federer in straight sets. A year later he become world number two, the highest position ever held by a British player. He also became the first British winner in 71 years at Queen’s, the Wimbledon warm-up tournament.

At Wimbledon itself, he reached the semifinals for the first time, a feat he repeated in 2010 and 2011.

Wimbledon tears

In March 2012, Murray endeared himself to the British public when broke into tears after losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer. A few months later – at London 2012 – Murray won the silver medal in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson.

Team GB

He also won the gold medal in the singles, becoming the first Briton to win the Olympic singles gold medal in tennis since Josiah Ritchie in 1908. He celebrated by being photographed draped in a union jack.

Wimbledon champion

In the summer of 2013 Murray overcame Novak Djokovic in a straight sets match that lasted over three hours, to become the first British winner of the men’s singles title since Perry in 1936, the first Scot of either sex to win a Wimbledon singles title since Harold Mahoney in 1896.

Salmond flag

In 2014 Murray criticised Alex Salmond’s decision to photo-bomb David Cameron with a Scottish flag after he won Wimbledon the year before.

Stressing he always plays as a Briton, he tennis ace said he “didn’t like it” when the first minister unfurled the flag in the royal box, moments after his dramatic win over Djokovic.

Mr Salmond was widely criticised at the time for trying to hijack the sporting triumph to push his case for Scottish independence.

Team Scotland

Last month Murray told the Guardian that he did not think it looked likely the result would be a yes, but he added that his preference would be to represent Scotland if the country became independent.

He added that he did not like making his views on politics known as previous comments had “caused me a headache… and a lot of abuse”.

He said: “I’ve been following the independence debate very closely. If it happened where Scotland became independent, then I imagine I would be playing for them in Rio. But, I haven’t thought about it too much because I don’t think it looks likely that it’s going to happen.

“If it did happen, then it would be pretty much the first time in my life I would be representing Scotland. Ever since I started travelling to tournaments when I was 11 years old I always played under Great Britain. Every time I went overseas or to a team event we were always under Great Britain. That’s normal to me.”