BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Overend

Johnny Marray: The man who started GB's golden summer

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Jonathan Overend | 13:09 UK time, Monday, 5 November 2012

When we reflect on Great Britain's incredible sporting successes of 2012 and wonder, inevitably, whether it was all for real, various celebratory faces will play peekaboo in our minds.

Bradley Wiggins with his sideburns, Mo Farah with his eyes, Andy Murray with his amazement, Ellie Simmonds with her smile - but what about the man who kicked everything off? The first time we really pinched ourselves in the summer was when a British man won Wimbledon. His name was, and still is, Johnny Marray.

"If I can win Wimbledon there must have been something strange going on," he says when we meet in Paris where he reached the semi-finals.

"It was a fantastic summer and, as Wimbledon came before the Tour De France and the Olympics, I suppose it was a good start to a great summer."

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One final push for world's top players

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Jonathan Overend | 08:22 UK time, Sunday, 4 November 2012

Early afternoon inside the O2 Arena and with people laying carpets, plugging cables and fixing lights around them, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray traded blows on the blue court, reviving memories of their classic US Open final less than two months ago.

"I can assure you there wasn't the same intensity in that session," joked Murray afterwards. But there was still sufficient quality to remind us which is the preeminent rivalry in the autumn of 2012.

This is the thing about the ATP World Tour Finals; the best in the world come together in one place, for one final push.

This may have been practice, but when the tournament begins on Monday, Murray and Djokovic will continue a rivalry which has since moved from New York to Shanghai (where they played another brilliant, deciding set final) and it would be entirely appropriate if, as well as in the group phase, they met in the final a week on Monday.

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Murray, Watson, Robson & Marray provide golden period

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Jonathan Overend | 08:00 UK time, Monday, 15 October 2012

The stories in British tennis have been all too familiar over the past couple of decades - unfulfilled talent, near misses at the majors, juniors failing to deliver on over-generous financial investment - which makes the revival of 2012 so unexpected, so remarkable, so plain brilliant.

In the space of three and a half months:

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