Olympic gold and silver medalist, Britain's first male Grand-Slam champion in 76 years and the first home winner of the men's singles at Wimbledon since Fred Perry; Andy Murray's CV makes for impressive reading following a year of success. Each of these triumphs have seen Murray overcome the pressures of both history and his own personal milestones. But at this year's US Open, Andy Murray will face yet another challenge.
For the first time in his career, the Scot will be the defending champion at a Grand Slam and that itself is another step into the unknown.
On the court, where before Murray's scalp was a coup for lower-ranked players, his head will now carry a far greater bounty, offering his opponents a chance to write their names into US Open history. History often overlooks where top players lose to closely matched rivals, but if you're the unknown toppling the man defending his crown, you quickly become the name on everybody's lips.
Another challenge will be the weight of expectation. Murray is no stranger to this following summers of being the home favourite at Wimbledon, but in the past this has been from British supporters alone. It was even suggested that Grand Slams abroad offered Murray the best chance of winning because of the respite from the pressure at home.
Following his success last year, fans from every corner of the globe will expect him to deliver in New York. Over the past few seasons Murray has shown himself to be a force on the courts of the US and Australia, and as defending champion the expectation will be even greater. Failure to be in contention at the business end of the tournament will be regarded as a huge failure for one of the in-form Grand Slam players over the past year and a half.
Off the court, Murray, often uncomfortable in-front of the camera, will have every move scrutinised. In the absence of a serious American contender, US fans have taken Murray on as their own and as such he will have to contend with media expectations from both home and abroad. He will be the player that every pundit and news agency wants the opinion of before the tournament and will have to base his own build-up and practice around those commitments.
The pressure is undoubtedly on Murray to achieve yet another success, in what sometimes seems a career paved out by overcoming milestones. Defeat would certainly not be the end of the world for him - the very achievement that made him defending champion proves that the man can come back from disappointment but winning the tournament could pave the way to dominance of the men's game.
In the same way that many pundits believe that his US Open success gave him the experience to win Wimbledon, a successful defence of his crown in New York would not only add another slam trophy, but maintain the momentum that he currently holds over his closest rivals. Winning a second US Open would also give him a measure of dominance over the courts of New York. Such dominance would make the challenge of facing Murray all the more difficult for his rivals.
It might not be the greatest of milestones that Murray overcomes in his career, but victory as defending champion at the US Open could prove a huge step towards Murray going down as one of the greats.
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