BRILLIANT British champion or surly Scotch loser?
We’ll tell you in two weeks’ time whether we’ve always admired Andy Murray’s true British bulldog-esque style or if we’re distancing the tartan twat as far as possible from the rest of the home nations.
It all depends on whether he can claim that elusive first Grand Slam title when the Australian Open kicks off on Monday (January 16th).
If his blistering start to 2009 is anything to go by, he’ll certainly be in the running.
The world No4 arrives in Melbourne on a high after defending his Qatar Open title with a ridiculously easy win over Andy Roddick, after overcoming Roger Federer in the semis.
Murray now has nine titles to his name, just two less than toothless Tim Henman’s career total, but insists he is still a year away from his best.
“There are still things in my game I can definitely improve,” he droned.
“That is what is exciting. I need to keep working hard and when I go on court, I need to keep fighting.”
Blah, blah, blah whatever Andy. Just give us another reason to lay the boot into the Aussies in their own backyard and we’ll kiss every curly hair on your perma-frowning head.
• BIG Ted Hankey was left out for The Count and requiring a Hankey to wipe away the blood, sweat, tears and beers after securing his second BDO World Darts Championship with a nailbiting 7-6 victory over a battling Tony O’Shea in an epic final at the Lakeside.
The balding, overweight, sweat-drenched Dracula devotee proved a fitting winner in a physically demanding battle of attrition against a valiant opponent.
The nervy Count missed a hatful of chances as O’Shea refused to lie down and let the stake be driven into his heart. He fought back from 6-4 down to level at 6-6, but Hankey finally hit double 10 to win the deciding set 3-1 and regain the title he won in 2000.
The self-proclaimed fitness fanatic then went backstage to have his traditional 10 pints of blood – with 20 aftershock chasers and 60 fags.
• GREAT Dane Anders Hansen held his nerve with a final hole birdie to win the Joburg Open from South African Andrew McLardy.
The insightful victor said: “It means a lot to win obviously – because that’s of course what we’re here for.” Thanks for that, Einstein.
• AUSSIE battler Geoff Ogilvy staged a recovery on the back nine to claim a six-stroke victory at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii. After a fourth bogey of the day on the eighth, Ogilvy’s lead was just one stroke, but a run of birdies saw him finish ahead of Anthony Kim and Davis Love III.
• EUROPE’S players ended the Royal Trophy united in their praise for Jose Maria Olazabal’s captaincy and gave their unequivocal backing to the Spaniard should he choose to become Ryder Cup captain – but the facts tell you his team lost 10-6 to Asia, so if we were you Jose we wouldn’t exactly be waiting by the telephone.
The hosts dominated the eight-man event in Bangkok to claim a maiden victory in the format, but ex-Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley said: “He’s outstanding and is going to be an absolutely outstanding Ryder Cup captain whenever it’s his turn. He’s a different class.”
Jose, however, would like the opportunity to make an eighth Ryder Cup appearance at Celtic Manor in 2010 before accepting a non-playing leadership role. Sorry, but come on. There’s no way Jose.
• PROFESSIONAL clothes horse Ian Poulter pulled out of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in order to undergo corrective eye surgery.
Maybe once he can see properly he will realise what a prize knob he looks like on the course week in week out.
LANCE Armstrong arrived in Australia this week and played down any chance he has of winning his comeback race, the Tour Down Under. But considering the obstacles he has overcome in his amazing life you’d be foolish to rule it out.
Although he won the World Cycling Championship in 1993, Armstrong was considered an underachiever when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and then a germ cell tumour that affected his brain and lungs, in 1996.
Survival was initially thought to be unlikely, then a full recovery wasn’t expected. But not only did he bounce back from extensive brain surgery and chemotherapy, he won the world’s toughest sporting event within three years.
His breakthrough Tour de France win was the first of a record-breaking seven straight titles, from 1999 to 2005.
How Maurice Greene beat him to the BBC Overseas Sports Personality Of The Year in 1999 is the most amazing and perverse thing ever to have happened in the history of time.
Three years after retiring from racing in July 2005, the glutton for punishment decided to get back on the bike and returned to competitive cycling in 2009 to add to the tens of millions he has raised for cancer charities.
He also managed to find time to give ‘special’ donations to Sheryl Crow, Kate Hudson and Ashley Olsen. Fair play.
What’s that? He has ambitions to be the Governor of Texas and counts George W Bush as a close personal friend?
Forget everything you just read. The guy is a knob.