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Raman Bhardwaj: Why Andy Murray means so much to Scotland

Murray's impact on Scottish society goes well beyond his results on the tennis court.

Raman interviews Murray at Wimbledon in 2016.
Raman interviews Murray at Wimbledon in 2016. STV

Picture the scene - Andy Murray visiting a Glasgow primary school a stone's throw away from my house. Two hundred or so kids waiting to give him an almighty cheer.

A few other reporters and I were hanging around in the background, hoping to have a word with him.

This was a decade ago - before Murray had made it big.

I'd never met the guy, but I'd heard a lot about his personality, or lack of, apparently.

He's grumpy, he's hard work, good luck ... All of that was kicked into touch within seconds.

Despite being told by his team that the interview would need to be brief, the man himself was happy to talk about all things - including a Q&A about football.

Immediate impression? Sound bloke.

I've been working on the sports beat for the best part of 20 years. During that time, there's not been much for us to celebrate as a sporting nation, but there have been many near misses.

Murray not only gave us hope, he gave us moments of unbridled joy. He managed to grip the nation like no other Scottish sportsperson.

At STV towers, for example, when there's a game of football on the box, only the sports team have a keen eye on it. When Murray was playing in a tense five-setter at Wimbledon, the whole office was fixated on the TV screens.

https://stv.tv/news/scotland/1434496-andy-murray-to-retire-at-wimbledon-but-may-bow-out-sooner/ | default

It would have been a scene doubtless replicated throughout the country - be it in the bars of Dunblane, or watching the action on the big screens in George Square.

He'd put you through the ringer alright. But that's what you had to buy into when watching Murray play.

There's the human side, too, that many people don't see. As is customary for any Wimbledon champion, they speak to the media the following day.

You could forgive Murray for being slightly bleary eyed after his 2016 success - word is the party was in full swing until 5am.

But, there he was at 10am, ready for his next two-hour batch of interviews. Prior to that, though, he sat in the corner of a hall with his grandmother and mother.

I kid you not, he was hugging his granny for about 20 minutes. It struck me - if only the cameras were allowed in this room and folk saw the other side of Murray...

I took the opportunity to interrupt his private family moment.

Oblivious to the celebrations taking place in his hometown of Dunblane, I showed him a quick social media clip - you couldn't wipe the smile of his face.

When Raman recreated Murray's celebration in 2013

But it's not just Wimbledon. Many of us were up in the middle of the night celebrating his first ever grand slam triumph in 2012, we lapped up his demolition job of Roger Federer to win Olympic gold and had our eyes glued to screens as he almost single handedly secured Britain's first Davis Cup success since 1936.

Then there's his humour: his hilarious Instagram polls, his post-match media comments.

He has a dry sense of humour. Some people either don't get or don't want to get it - I certainly do.

In my line of work, I get stopped in the street, the bar, the supermarket with people wanting my take on sport.

The majority of the time, it's about football.

But through Murray's career, his name has come up more than others in a sport that has not traditionally been of Scottish interest.

He's transcended the sporting world and become a part of the national conversation.

And deservedly so.

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