Draped in the flag: Murray shrugs off Team GB patriotism row
Andy Murray distanced himself from those trying to use his Olympic victory for political ends yesterday, as he fought off suggestions his use of the Union Jack reflected an anti-independence message.
The tennis player, who came back from a Wimbledon final defeat to beat Roger Federer in straight sets at the Olympic finals, sang part of the national anthem and draped himself in the national flag after the match.
"In tennis we represent Great Britain and I have done it now for 15 years, through every single age group," he said.
"I’ve always loved the team competitions. I’ve always been proud of representing my country, but obviously still remember my roots.
"I love Scotland, I have all of my family there and I love going back and seeing everybody, but I don’t get wrapped up in all of that stuff any more. I just enjoy competing for my country and I hope I did a good job of that yesterday."
The 25-year-old put his victory down to the enthusiasm for Team GB through the Olympic Games.
"I think it’s just being part of the Olympics, the success of the other athletes and watching them, being inspired by that and wanting to try and be part of the medal tally and try and contribute to the team as much as I could," he said.
Scottish National party (SNP) officials have been cautious of the wave of optimism sweeping the nation in the wake of the Olympics.
Alex Salmond started the Games by refusing to acknowledge the existence of Team GB and instead speaking only of 'Scolympians'. Some of his Cabinet have now disregarded the rule to not mention the British team, however.
The sight of the Scottish sporting hero draped in the flag will be considered a PR disaster for the first minister.
Murray said he hoped his win should encourage authorities to provide better tennis facilities for young people in Scotland.
"The support through the whole event was unbelievable, a real feeling of togetherness which I hadn’t experienced before, and I hope more kids start playing tennis and we can get more tennis courts around the country and make it easier for kids for play," he told BBC Radio Scotland.
"That’s really what the plan is. You get more kids playing, you get more chance of having future success."
Murray has always struggled to navigate the political implications of his sporting career, as politicians on both sides of the border try to fete him as an example of either British or Scottish accomplishment.
An off-the-cuff comment about supporting 'anyone but England' in the football was held against him by English journalists for years.