It’s official. Andy Murray has entered the pantheon of British sporting icons.
In a week when the Scot is attracting more column inches than ever before, his biographer Mark Hodgkinson lets Esquire in on 20 little-know facts about the new Wimbledon Champion, including his passions off court, his past fashion mistakes and his attitude towards sex.
1. He’s obsessed with go-karting.
…so much so he has his own racing shoes and helmet, which has 'The Stig' on the back.
2. He sold his red Ferrari
…because he felt like a complete prat in it. "I'm quite a conservative driver, but when I was driving that, I would get beeped just for getting out of the car," he said.
3. He spent his pocket money on James Bond films
…thanks to a local shop offering a two-for-one deal. His favourite was Goldfinger.
4. He was born with a bipartite patella
…or split kneecap, and has required pain-killing injections and pills just to get him out on court.
5. He credits Billy Connolly
…as the person who taught him to swear. As a young boy, Murray and his family would listen to cassettes of Billy Connolly's stand-up routines as they drove to tournaments.
6. He’s teetotal
…Though when he was 16 and training at the academy in Barcelona, Murray got very drunk for the first, and only, time in his life. As he recalled: "(I) got completely hammered on vodka, wine and champagne", vomited outside a nightclub and "tried to catch it in my hands - it went down my arms and legs and splashed on my shoes. Unbelievably, the nightclub let me in, but I can only imagine I wasn't a popular clubber that night".
7. He has a 'sick' sense of humour
…according to his coach Ivan Lendl, who is said to tell some of the dirtiest jokes in tennis. "Andy's sense of humour is almost as sick as mine," the American said.
8. He sometimes eats up to four Feast ice-creams a day
…though only when he is at home between tournaments. "I can eat ice-cream from midday until I go to bed," he said.
9. He is the Jay-Z of the men's locker-room
…Murray tapped on an album produced by the world's leading doubles team, American twins Bob and Mike Bryan. He spits: "During Wimbledon it gets really crazy / My hand cramps up and my mind gets hazy / I sign and I sign but the line doesn't end / Wake me up and let's do it tomorrow / Autograph."
10. He almost missed the 2004 BBC Sports Personality of the Year
…because he inadvertently locked himself in a hotel loo.
11. He once played tennis with David Cameron
…in the State Dining Room at 10 Downing Street, but managed to avoid breaking any chandeliers.
12. He doesn’t abstain from sex before playing
…As he once said: “Tennis is not like boxing. I remember a former world heavyweight whose trainer banned him from having sex for the six weeks before a fight. In tennis we play every week, so with a boxer's mentality, we'd always be saying 'no'."
13. His body is not totally in balance
…as tennis is a "diagonal sport". He has a weaker left shoulder because it never gets to work as hard as the right, and his left leg is a little stronger than his right.
14. His style of play was once described in Time magazine
…as "a concerto of arrhythmic disharmony".
15. His middle name is Barron
…which translates from Old English as "young warrior".
16. He loves boxing
…but has never punched anyone in the face.
17. His father's advice when he left home as a teeanger
...was "don't take shit from anyone." Murray was heading to Barcelona to train.
18. He won the junior title at the 2004 US Open
…and dedicated his victory to the victims of the terrorist attack on a school in Beslan in Russia that year, as well as to the victims of the shooting at Dunblane primary school in 1996.
19. He recently bought a hotel
…Cromlix House in Dunblane, where his brother Jamie was married.
20. When he was seven
…Murray spent eight pounds at a local market on what he felt was a tribute to his tennis idol Andre Agassi’s ‘hot lava’ look. It involved some cut-off denim shorts, neon pink and purple cycling shorts, and a baseball cap with a long blond ponytail clipped to the back.
Andy Murray – Champion by Mark Hodgkinson, is out now in paperback (Simon and Schuster, £7.99).