Brisbane: Andy Murray is coming off a season in which he became the first British man in 76 years to win a Grand Slam singles title and won Olympic gold at the London Games but the Scot does not think he has done enough to deserve a knighthood yet.
The 25-year-old received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in a special UK New year Honours list, though some of his supporters thought his victories at the US Open and Olympics warranted a higher honour.
Bradley Wiggins, the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France, and Ben Ainslie, the most decorated Olympic yachtsman, received knighthoods but Murray said he would have to accomplish much more before he could perhaps one day join them.
“You need to do a lot, for a long time, to deserve an honour like that,” Murray told a news conference at the Brisbane International on Tuesday.
“A lot of the sportsmen and women have been given that just because their sport isn’t necessarily in the spotlight all the time, it’s easy to forget what they’ve done for 10, 15 years.
“I mean, some of them have won 10 gold medals in world championships, four or five Olympic medals, and have been doing it for years.
“I’ve only been doing it for a couple years, so I think I’ll definitely need to win a few more matches and have more tournaments to have a chance of getting that.”
Sir Sean Connery and Sir Alex Ferguson were in Murray’s corner as spectators during the US Open but he said he only referred to them as Sean and Alex.
“I think with the people around you, I think everyone just kind of stays the same, and then it would be people that you don’t know that will come up to you and address you as that,” Murray said.
“But I would hope I wouldn’t want my friends and family to call me that.”
Murray’s win over Novak Djokovic at the US Open in September has finally freed him of the questions about when he would make his Grand Slam breakthrough.
The world No. 3 said winning Olympic gold and his first major in the same year had had its perks but with a coach like Ivan Lendl to guide him he was never likely to get carried away by the success.
“The few weeks afterwards around the Olympics time and the US Open, I got a few upgrades on flights and things like that, which is nice, but that’s died down a little bit over the last few months,” he said.
“Life hasn’t changed too much. Obviously the few weeks afterwards were very busy. Then once you start travelling and playing tournaments again, and get back into the routine of training and practicing, it hasn’t really changed that much, to be honest, which has been nice.
“Also having someone like Ivan around me as well, he went through a similar sort of thing so that’s obviously helped as well. He’s given me some advice on how to deal with certain things that come with winning big events.
“I’ve had a lot of congratulations because I think a lot of people that follow tennis, and were sort of general sports fans, kind of knew my story a little bit.
“Of how long it had been since any British player had won a slam and how many times I had lost in the finals. Especially after Wimbledon, when I was very upset this year.
“It was very nice for me to finally be able to move on and not worry about that stuff anymore. I got a lot of congratulations for that.”
Having shed the nearly-man tag, Murray said he would be better prepared than ever in his bid to become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win Wimbledon.
Murray endured heartbreak in the 2012 Wimbledon final when he was beaten Roger Federer.
“There will be a lot of pressure again, but I don’t think there will be more pressure than what I went through last year, to be honest,” he said.
“I mean, that was a tough tournament for me. It was quite stressful. The Olympics was the same. The US Open — that was a tough, tough three months mentally for me.
“I think whatever happens at Wimbledon this year, I’ll be able to deal with it better than I have done in the past.”
Murray is taking part in the Brisbane International tournament as part of his preparations for the Australian Open, which begins on January 14.