Has Andy Murray’s chase ended, or just begun?


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Murray takes his maiden Grand Slam trophy on a romantic first date in Central Park

It was three weeks ago today that Andy Murray, after four hours and 54 gruelling minutes, ended his seven-year wait for a Grand Slam title in the delayed US Open final.

It had been the raincloud he could not shake off:  no matter who he beat in one-on-one competition, how high he rose in the ATP rankings or whether he was 'British' or 'Scottish'.

Andy Murray was the tennis star who could not win 'The Big One'.

Even an Olympic gold medal and revenge over Wimbledon final conqueror Roger Federer failed to fully lift the stigma. Mo Farah, Jess Ennis and, erm, Peter Wilson, no matter how many overpriced Chinawhite cocktails his shiny new medal could get him for free, the bitter aftertaste of the June loss to the Swiss living legend could not be washed away.

In beating Novak Djokovic in the wee hours of the British Summertime morning at the Arthur Ashe stadium, a monkey is off Murray's back. The weight of the world is off his shoulders. Countless other clichés about the chase being over come into effect.

But what if 'the chase' was exactly what kept Murray going?

The Scot attributes his competitive streak to childhood tennis drubbings at the hands of brother Jamie. Before long, Murray was taking this chip on his shoulder out on the junior tennis field, winning prestigious youth accolades and the rest, as they say…

Now, he finds himself running low on mountains to climb. The prospect of world number one status will surely keep a fire burning inside Murray, as hopefully will the 'Great White Buffalo' that is Wimbledon glory.

We will begin to discover the true extent of Murray's drive to succeed starting this week in Tokyo. In his first competitive action since Flushing Meadows, the top seed takes on Gael Monfils in round one.

Though the tournament is far from a massive deal, the ATP World Tour Finals next month are, and the Australian Open, the next Grand Slam on offer, is only three months away.

"I think a lot of players are at this stage a little bit tired mentally and physically as well," Murray said upon arriving in Japan.

"You need to find the best way of managing that for the last couple of months of the year.

"I also would like to play well in the tour finals in London. I didn't have the chance to do that last year.

"It was a very disappointing way to finish the year. I want to make sure I'm 100 per cent fit for that tournament and try to finish the year well there."

The US Open win was the end of a seminal and ultimately rewarding chapter in Murray's career, which at the age of only 25 still has plenty of text to come.

We can only hope his first Grand Slam is the first of many, and that those of us who stayed up for the duration and spent the following day dreary-eyed at work made that effort to witness the start of a dynasty, not the peak of another Thomas Johansson or Gaston Gaudio.

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