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a raised area of grass at the Wimbledon tennis club where spectators gather to watch British player Andy Murray on a giant television screen
'Henman Hill, the grassy knoll behind Centre Court which – for nearly a decade – rang out to cries of "come on Tim", has been rechristened Murray Mound.'The Independent 2nd July 2008
'British tennis fans on Murray Mount, the rise at the All England Tennis Club formerly known as Henman Hill, erupted in elation after Andy Murray rallied from a two-set deficit to beat Richard Gasquet at Wimbledon yesterday.'Bloomberg 1st July 2008
Its official name is Aorangi Park, but for many years it was called Henman Hill, periodically it became referred to as Rusedski Ridge, but in 2008 it is most definitely Murray Mound. This is the tongue-in-cheek description of a grassy bank at the Wimbledon All England Tennis Club, where fans without show-court tickets traditionally gather around a giant TV screen to watch British tennis players desperately trying to win the men's singles championship.
it's lucky for British fans that English has such a rich vocabulary of words referring to 'a raised area of land'. Among the remaining possibilities are crag, knoll, peak or slope …
The expression Murray Mound, along with its variant Murray Mount, follows the tradition of naming this area based on the surname of the current top British player and an appropriate noun beginning with the same letter. It's lucky for British fans that English has such a rich vocabulary of words referring to 'a raised area of land'. Among the remaining possibilities are crag, knoll, peak or slope, which might tie in with other British surnames, such as Croft, Knight, Peters or Smith. However variations on the theme seem unlikely in the current climate. Despite battling with a wrist injury during the past year, Andy Murray has consistently proven his ability to hold his own against the world's top players, and after a nail-biting fourth round match against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, he has now reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon – book your space on Murray Mound!
Andy Murray was born in 1987 near Stirling in Scotland. He won his first major tennis championship in Florida at the age of 12. Just seven years later, he became the British number one, and in the same year jumped from a world ranking of 374th to 41st. His highest world ranking to date is 8th, but far more significant – in the eyes of the British public – is his considerable potential to become a Wimbledon champion.
It's 70 years since Wimbledon last had a British men's singles champion. Fred Perry was the last British player to win the tournament, before the Second World War in 1936. As each year passes, the British public's anticipation of a long-awaited champion grows more and more fervent, and ephemeral terms referring to the players, their fans and performances are coined along the way, amid media speculation about whether 'this will be the year'.
However, loyal fans of the Murray family were rewarded in 2007, when Andy's elder brother Jamie won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. In 1977, Virginia Wade was the last British woman to win Wimbledon.
Former British number one Tim Henman, who retired in 2007, was unsuccessful in fulfilling the fans' dream of a British champion, but stayed at the pinnacle of media focus and word formation. In addition to Henman Hill, among the most notable terms Tim gave us were Henmania, which can be defined as something like 'over-zealous support for British tennis player Tim Henman, especially in the context of the Wimbledon championships' and Henmaniac, referring to a 'sufferer' of Henmania. Henmania/Henmaniac became a seasonal feature of English during Wimbledon fortnight.
But Tim has retired and with him the Henman lexicon is expiring, superseded by a new ray of hope in the form of Andy Murray. 'Murray is the new Henman', so references to Murraymania and Murraymaniacs are sprinkled liberally throughout this year's coverage of the championships. The British fans have slid down Henman Hill, and are now sitting hopefully on Murray Mound.
This updated article was first published on 2nd July 2008.
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