Tennis: Sheffield’s Marray slams the rest with record Wimbledon win

Defied the odds: Jonny Marray battled to glory.    picture: getty images.
Defied the odds: Jonny Marray battled to glory. picture: getty images.
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THIS illustrious city has produced some notable sporting greats who have provided Sheffield and its multitude of sports lovers with many memorable occasions and top class achievements on the world stage.

Think, perhaps, of the most famous Sheffield product of all - Seb Coe, Olympic champion and world record holder during a glittering career.

From the city’s fruitful boxing fraternity emerged World champions in Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson and Clinton Woods.

We’ve seen top class footballers across the decades from United and Wednesday.

Michael Vaughan’s cricketing potential was first spotted at Abbeydale and no one could have reckoned then he would be a historic Ashes-winning captain one day.

The current world squash champion is Nick Matthew whilst Roger Taylor was a world class tennis star and cyclist Malcolm Elliott competed with the world’s best.

Sheffield is proud of its latest sporting superstar Jessica Ennis and we all wait, in hope, that Olympic greatness will be bestowed on her in just a few weeks’ time.

There are plenty of others, going back deep into the last century, who have flown the flag for Sheffield in their particular sporting sphere.

But it is almost certain that there has never been a triumph quite like the one achieved by the latest Sheffield sportsman to make history - Jonny Marray.

His achievement in winning the Wimbledon men’s doubles has been described as a fairytale.

Not simply because no British man had been a winner in this final since 1936 but because it was the most unlikeliest of victories and, quite possibly, the biggest surprise in Wimbledon history.

In football terms, the victory of the 31-year-old tennis journeyman from Sheffield and his Danish partner Freddie Nielsen, was like a non-league team winning the FA Cup.

A wild card entrant, they were in by invitation only. Totally unfancied. Basically, no hopers.

Marray and Nielsen kept defying the odds. They beat seeded players, even the defending champions and top seeds, the Bryan Brothers.

It was Mission Impossible for a wild card pair to win the event. But they did.

To be a Grand Slam champion is something all tennis players dream of.

Marray has earned himself a place in the record books for all-time.

It is fitting the city is to recognise this achievement, of being Sheffield’s first Wimbledon champion, by hosting a civic reception in his honour.

This ‘unknown’ is now up there with this city’s great sporting names.