This tennis player has been described as ‘duller than a weekend in Worthing’, but is it true? We find out which is more interesting
After the fuss over Tyson Fury’s homophobia and sexism, it was good to see the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award get back to its problem with blandness. On winning, Andy Murray quipped: “A friend sent me a message the other day with an article from a newspaper that said, ‘Andy Murray is duller than a weekend in Worthing’. Which I thought was a bit harsh. To Worthing.”
Was it? According to Daniel Humphreys, the leader of Worthing council, the choice of his town as an archetype of dullness has “a little bit more to do with alliteration” than reality. When asked which is more interesting – Worthing or Murray – Humphreys tactfully says: “I wouldn’t like to go down that route of setting one against the other.” We would, however. Here are the (boring) facts.
Murray Born in Dunblane on 15 May, 1987. His mother Judy was a tennis professional who introduced him to the sport when he was three. As a boy, he also enjoyed football, but gave it up to focus on tennis. “I’m not so good when I’m part of a team,” he said later. “I’m better when I’m by myself.” WINNER
Worthing The modern borough of Worthing has been settled since at least the fifth century BC, when it was a leading centre for neolithic flint mining. By 1218 it had acquired the name Wurddingg, but the expansion from fishing village to resort town only began in the late 18th century, during the fashion for “sea cures”.
Murray Few interests outside sport. He and his wife Kim own a border terrier called Maggie May. In his spare time, Murray likes go-karting, follows Hibernian FC, watches basketball, plays fantasy football and PlayStation games, especially Pro Evolution Soccer and GoldenEye 007. He enjoys jet-skiing, gym visits and watches an average of three sets of tennis on TV each day. WINNER
Worthing World-class kitesurfing facilities, which Murray might enjoy. Recently, the town became famous when champion kitesurfers Lewis Crathern and Jake Scrace used a day of high winds to leap over the top of Worthing Pier. Besides this, there was a “street velodrome” in the summer, which will return next year along with a “summer of circus”. As Humphreys points out, there is also “a fantastic, relatively new leisure centre”.
Murray His favourite food is sushi, but during Wimbledon last year he ate salmon, chicken and steak on a three-day rotation. He eats a lot of fruit, but doesn’t like bananas unless they are mashed up on top of a bagel. In January 2013, he went through a period of enjoying spicy Mexican chicken sandwiches. He doesn’t like hot drinks. Asked to choose between fish and chips, he says: “I would never have battered fish, like cod from the chip shop. So I’ll go for chips.” Sometimes he eats shortbread.
Worthing The nearest restaurant to Worthing that gets mentioned in the Michelin Guide is the George pub at Burpham, seven-and-a-half miles away, which boasts “a seasonal menu full of tasty, popular classics”. The town itself hosts a food festival every July in the Pavilion Theatre. This year, it included cookery demonstrations and competitive doughnut-eating. WINNER
Murray Judy made a very respectable showing on Strictly Come Dancing. His brother Jamie is another elite tennis player, part of the winning Davis Cup team and ranked the UK No 1 in doubles. Kim, famous for her glamorous appearance and full-blooded swearing, grew up in Sussex, not far from Worthing. She paints portraits of people’s pets and has written a book from the point of view of their dog.
Worthing Jane Austen stayed in Worthing, and apparently based her unfinished novel Sanditon on it. Oscar Wilde wrote The Importance of Being Earnest while holidaying in the town, where the Nobel laureate Harold Pinter also lived for many years. Emperor Haile Selassie stayed in the Warnes hotel after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. Chris Evans declares himself a “regular visitor”. WINNER
Murray Enjoys the TV series Dexter, and was very frustrated by the delayed release of Anchorman 2. Regarding his taste in music, he says: “I don’t really listen to music any more, so literally anything that’s on the radio. I love listening to Ed Sheeran.” WINNER
Worthing Home to the Worthing Symphony Orchestra and four theatre and film venues, including the beautifully restored old Dome Cinema and the art deco Connaught Theatre, where “just this afternoon”, Humphreys will be seeing The Cat in the Hat with his family. Worthing Pier hosts the International Birdman competition.
Murray 3, Worthing 2
Murray wins in five sets to be confirmed, as he suspected, duller than the Sussex seaside town. He will now face Gareth Bale or Swindon in the next round.
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