No place like home for Murray

Updated: 2014-04-25 07:00

By Agence France-Presse in London (China Daily)

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Wimbledon champion Andy Murray fought to hold back tears on Wednesday after being awarded the ceremonial freedom of his Scottish hometown, Stirling.

"It feels good to be home," said Murray, his voice cracking with emotion, during a ceremony at his former school, Dunblane High.

The 26-year-old was seen to pause and wipe his eyes several times during his speech, as a crowd including local officials, his parents, and girlfriend Kim Sears looked on.

"I'm going to keep this very short because there's a good chance I'll get emotional," he said.

"I'd like to thank the (local) council for voting me in. I was expecting a few no's. I was thinking, 'There's got to be one of you who doesn't like me.'

"I'd like to thank all my family and friends and my girlfriend for coming to support me."

After another break to compose himself, Murray added: "I think everyone knows I'm extremely proud of where I come from.

"To get this honor means a lot to me, so thanks to everyone for coming along, and I apologize for this behavior," he added with a smile.

Murray left Scotland and moved to Spain as a teenager, and now resides in London.

At a later press conference in the school hall, renamed Murray Hall, he explained why he felt so emotional.

"I don't get the chance to come back that often and I don't get the chance to see my family as much as I would like, and I'm very proud of where I come from," he said.

Previously renowned for his gruff demeanor, Murray captured British hearts after breaking down in tears live on television following his loss to Roger Federer in the 2012 Wimbledon final.

He exacted revenge on the Swiss in the final of the men's Olympic tournament on the same court weeks later and then returned to win Wimbledon last year, becoming the first British man to do so for 77 years.

 No place like home for Murray

Stirling council provost Mike Robbins comforts Andy Murray after the tennis star made an emotional speech following his acceptance of the Freedom of Stirling presented to him at his old school in Dunblane, Scotland, on Wednesday. PA, Andrew Milligan / AP

(China Daily 04/25/2014 page23)