End-of-season reports 2012: Andy Murray

End-of-season reports 2012: Andy Murray
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Sports Mole takes a look at Andy Murray's remarkable 2012 season.

To quote the man himself, Andy Murray described 2012 as the best season of his career "by a mile".

There's little argument to be had on that one as the Scot, with coach Ivan Lendl in his corner, won both gold and silver medals at the London Olympics before becoming the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title in 76 years with his triumph at the US Open.

The season started well enough with victory at the Brisbane Open, but he was outdone by eventual winner Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Australian Open following a duel that lasted nearly five hours.

Murray got revenge on Djokovic soon after with victory in the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships, only to be beaten in the final by Roger Federer.

He was surprised by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round of Indian Wells and was defeated by Djokovic in the final of Miami before falling to David Ferrer in the quarter-finals of the French Open amid struggles with a back problem.

Murray's return to home soil saw him slump to a disappointing first-round defeat to Nicolas Mahut at Queen's before his remarkable run at Wimbledon.

An entertaining victory over Marcos Baghdatis set up a semi-final encounter with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga which was won in four sets.

Amid frenzied hype amongst the British press, Murray went into the final against Federer looking to be the first men's singles champion at SW19 since Fred Perry in 1936.

A dramatic contest eventually saw Federer win his seventh title at the All England Club, but Murray won a legion of new fans with his tearful apology at the end of the contest.

He was back a month later to compete in the Olympics and got his revenge on Federer in the gold medal match of the men's singles with a resounding straight-sets triumph.

There was another medal to follow in the mixed singles as Murray and Laura Robson won silver following their defeat to the Belarusian pairing of Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi.

The Scot was then forced to withdraw from the Rogers Cup with a knee problem and returned only to be beaten in the third round of Cincinnati by Jeremy Chardy.

Up next was the US Open in New York and Murray had little difficulty in making his way through to the quarter-finals, where he met Marin Cilic.

After disposing of the Croatian in four sets, he then took on Tomas Berdych in the semis in ferocious conditions but was able to beat the Czech in four to reach the final against Djokovic.

Despite winning the first two sets, it looked as if Murray's Grand Slam dreams were slipping away from him when the Serb fought back to level the contest.

However, he was able to win a tense final set and end Britain's long drought for a men's Grand Slam winner.

Murray returned to court a Slam champion a month later at the Japan Open but fell at the quarter-final stage to Milos Raonic.

A third consecutive Shanghai Masters followed, though he was unable to defend his title as Djokovic pipped him in a thrilling three-setter.

Murray enjoyed some success at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with victories over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych, only to lose to Federer in the semis.

Despite a disappointing end to the campaign, there can be no doubt that 2012 was the year that Andy Murray officially announced himself as a serious contender to win a glut of Slams. You'd be a fool to bet against him adding to his tally next year.

David Ferrer
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