Book Review: 77 My Road to Wimbledon Glory
Looking ahead to the BBC Sports Personality for 2013 award I read, “77 My Road to Wimbledon Glory"
The title refers of course to his main achievement this year, becoming the first British male winner of Wimbledon since the legendary Fred Perry 77 years ago.
The book opens not surprisingly with that final game in the match when Murray was trying to serve out for the Wimbledon championship against Novak Djokovic, who at that time was regarded as the best tennis player on the planet.
“I have a lot more to give in my life but if I am remembered for 11 minutes on Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2013 it will be no bad thing, It was career affirming.” For me this is also the most effective chapter in the book as it provides vivid insight into what Murray was going through as well as taking you back to that historic day.
He literally describes how he felt step by step. On page 14 he also discusses watching the replays of the television coverage, particularly commenting on only then appreciating the tension and concern of his mother and others as "At that point in the match... from 40-15 until the end of the match... I didn't glance up at any of my party because sometimes their faces and actions can affect how I am feeling."
Still only 26 years old the Scot has already written an autobiography, originally printed in 2008 titled, “Hitting Back” but later called “Coming of Age” in its paperback version. An updated version of the autobiography is also being released this month. “77 My Road to Wimbledon Glory” on the other hand has been billed by its publishers, Headline as taking the reader on “a personal journey through Murray’s career but focusing on the last two years” and claim it allows us a glimpse into his world, “his intense training regime, his close-knit team and his mental and physical battle to get to the top." In his foreword to the book Murray acknowledges the help of Neil Harman, the Times newspaper tennis correspondent in putting it together.
Throughout there are good pictures from companies such as Colorsport, Fotosports International and Getty Images capturing key moments such as Murray’s emotional speech after losing the Wimbledon 2012 final, celebrating winning Olympic Gold on the podium and the match where he won his first grand slam title, the US Open.
I was particularly interested to read about his visits to Mock the Week TV screenings in 2012 and 2013 just after Wimbledon. In chapter 3 Murray comments
“After the 2012 Wimbledon final, I didn't feel I needed to walk with my head down, I went to certain events like Mock the Week where I got a standing ovation. That match changed a lot for me."
The book however only provides a very brief glimpse into Murray’s world and focuses most on the key matches during the past 2 years. not revealing anything major that his fans would not have already known about. The structure of the book is at times hard to follow with no contents description or index to illustrate what to expect from each chapter.
The BBC documentary broadcast a week before Wimbledon definitely gives you more idea about his Dunblane background and how he got into tennis in the first place. Mark Hodgkinson’s biography of Murray, “Andy Murray Champion” also covers this period thoroughly as well as discussing his more recent training methods and goes into detail about his family, his mother Judy Murray and brother Jamie, coaches such as Miles Maclagan and Brad Gilbert as well as what it was like training in Spain.
Overall it depends what you are looking for, if you want memory joggers as well as fantastic shots of Murray’s career then this is a useful book to get. If however you are looking to learn something new about Murray’s rise to the top you might be slightly disappointed and for a more detailed look into this then I would recommend Mark Hodgkinson’s book or Murray’s own autobiography.