Alec Swann – Don’t worry about a grin, just keep being one of the world’s best

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

When I was growing up, the Australian Steve Waugh was a cricketer I admired.

There was something about the no-nonsense approach he utilised that made him stand out from the crowd as well as the fact that he made the most of every ounce of talent he possessed.

His batting wasn’t the prettiest, even he would probably admit that, but it was mightily effective as his years in the top echelons of the world rankings would testify.

Despite his success, his surly demeanour didn’t appeal to everyone and I can recall a question to him in an interview asking why he didn’t smile a bit more on the field.

His answer: “Do you always smile when you’re at work?”

And that, in a roundabout kind of way, brings me to the man of the moment, Andy Murray.

For far too long, he’s had the accusation thrown at him that he is too surly, that his fanbase would increase dramatically if he could only raise a smile once in a while.

Even with numerous titles under his belt and a secure place among the top players on the planet, many found reason to criticise for nothing more serious than the fact that he’s a bit dour.

But lose a Wimbledon final and cry while being forced to make a reluctant speech and, would you believe it, he’s a different person.

Plonk an Olympic gold medal on top of this and it’s as if the old Murray didn’t exist.

Go one step further and add the Wimbledon title and we might as well crown him as King.

And the daft thing about all of this is that, at least to this writer, he doesn’t seem to be any different at all.

He still plays the game with a scowl on his face, he’s still a bit surly and that Scottish dourness is hardly likely to disappear anytime soon.

What I don’t understand is why it made any difference in the first place.

Murray should have been celebrated for the fact that he is a world-class tennis player competing for the sport’s biggest prizes.

So keep doing what you’re doing Andy because I couldn’t care less whether you’re smiling or not.