I don’t know a great deal about tennis. 'Doesn’t stop you writing about football,’ I hear you say. And true to form, it won’t stop me writing about tennis, either.

Except, I’m not going to write about tennis at all. Not really. Instead, I feel compelled to write about a man who most people would cursorily describe as a tennis player, but for me, and for the country, has come to represent a whole lot more than that.

Andy Murray will take his Wimbledon curtain call in the next couple of weeks. Maybe even the next couple of days, if things don’t go so well.

It was heartbreaking to hear that he won’t get to do so in the singles, as the injury problems that have plagued these last few years afflict him once more. That he won’t get to walk out and take the acclaim of centre court one more time on his own, a place where he has sometimes seemed utterly alone, even with a full nation behind him.

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Remember that crushing defeat in the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer? How he tried to hold it together as he addressed centre court and the world just minutes after that devastating loss? He wasn’t alone, then, I can personally vouch for that.

‘This won’t be easy,’ he croaked. And it rarely was. But that was all part of Murray’s charm and appeal. It was his defiance – no, his disdain – for the odds that made you want him to succeed all the more.

How did this scraggly, scruffy kid from Dunblane get to the top of tennis? That world wasn’t for us. That was for well-spoken boys named Tim, or some such. So poor are the facilities in Scotland, it seemed as likely we would produce a world-class yodeller as it did we would produce the best tennis player on the planet.

For a time, though, that is exactly what Murray was. And in an era of unprecedented dominance by arguably the three best players to have lived – Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. It was an astonishing achievement.

Just weeks after he stood in centre court sobbing into the microphone, he stood once more with hands aloft after defeating Federer in the final of the Olympic Games to claim the gold medal. This was the stuff that Murray was made of. He could be battered and bruised, beaten even. But he remained unbowed.

It was only a matter of time before the Wimbledon title, the one he and the rest of us so prized, would follow. Surely.

It would come quickly. The next year, in fact, as he defeated Djokovic to finally end a 77-year wait for a British men’s champion at the tournament. As ever with Murray, it wasn’t quite that straightforward, though. Or at least, it didn’t seem it.

The record books say it was a straight-sets victory. Anyone who watched it would tell you it certainly didn’t feel that way. That last game seemed to stretch on for an eternity.

Murray went 40-0 up in jig time. Somehow, the game lasted a shade under 12 minutes. Three match points came and went. Djokovic had advantage, and break point, on three occasions. Murray fought back each time, and eventually put us all out of our misery to fulfil his destiny.

If ever a tennis player’s career could be distilled into one game, then this was it. And the great thing about it was that you didn’t have to fully appreciate Murray’s dazzling technique, his mastery of spin or even his outrageous court coverage to feel every twist and turn deep within you.

This was courage, resilience and desire writ large, an incredible display of guts and raw emotion that transcended sport, twisted you inside out and then delivered you, exalted, exhausted, to a moment of national, communal joy.

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When I was a kid, it’s not that we didn’t play tennis at all. There were two brief hiatuses in the 49-week football season in the Flemington area of Motherwell where I grew up.

There was the week of the Open, when the rather unimaginatively titled ‘Flemington Open’ would take place, the hazards being the parked cars in the street and the nearby windows of the tower blocks.

Then, in Wimbledon fortnight, the rather more ingeniously titled ‘Flemingdon’ would play out, as an old net curtain would be tied across a section of car park between two traffic cones, and the main event of the tarmac-court season would get underway.

While we were all fighting over who got to be exotic names such as Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras or Goran Ivanisevic, though, a whole generation of Scottish kids were able to aspire to be someone just like them, from their own neck of the woods.

It seems a terrible waste of Murray’s legacy, that of his brother Jamie and the driving force behind them, mum Judy, that more tangible opportunities to pursue tennis as a hobby, never mind a career, haven’t been widely offered to that generation. But that is a conversation for another day.

Today, I simply salute Andy Murray. A man that won two Wimbledon titles, a US Open and two Olympic gold medals (so far). A man that reached number one in the world, and refused to bow to the injury that ended his run there, becoming the first player to compete at the highest level with a metal hip.

A man that showed us that being from Scotland wasn’t necessarily a lifetime sentence to sporting heartbreak and misery, or a barrier to achievement. That we could mix it with, and beat, the best of them. For my money, and in the more educated opinion of Chris Hoy, the greatest Scottish sportsman of all time.

Will we ever see his like again?