In honor of reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray's 27th birthday today, we look back at the Scottish tennis star's first big win on the world stage. In 2004, after starting play on the Challenger Tour the previous year, the then-17-year-old took home his first major trophy when he won the boys' title at the US Open. Seeded third, Murray beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-2 in the final. After the match, Murray thanked his mom, Judy, for "making lots of noise." That same year, Roger Federer beat Lleyton Hewitt in the men's final to claim his fourth Grand Slam title and his first of five straight in New York. Murray went on to represent Great Britain later that month in the Davis Cup, and, by 2005, he had cracked the Top 100 in the world rankings. Telling the BBC shortly after his win at Flushing Meadows that he hoped to one day make the world top 10, Murray has since won the US Open (2012), an Olympic gold medal (2012), Wimbledon (2013) and a slew of other tournaments. He is ranked No. 8 in the world -- after reaching a career-high No. 2 in 2009 -- and is playing in the Italian Open this week.
During your sleepless nights watching the Australian Open this week, you’ve probably noticed Wilson is the official ball supplier of the tournament. But did you know the Chicago-based company provides more than 48,000 balls to the tournament each year? Six new balls are used during the warm-up and first seven games and six new balls are distributed for every nine games after. The used balls are later sold on site. Approximately 300 balls kids are needed annually to help circulate the new balls and clear the court when needed. And if you’re still clamoring for numbers to impress your tennis-loving friends, a record 686,000 spectators attended the 2013 event and reportedly consumed more than 160,000 ice creams. With temperatures soaring in Melbourne this week, you can officially put the ice cream mark on the endangered list.
The 2014 tennis season is officially underway as the Brisbane International opened yesterday in Australia. The hard-court tournament is used by many of the WTA and ATP’s top players as a warm-up for January’s Australian Open. Serena Williams and Andy Murray won the 2013 Brisbane singles titles. Although they both had successful seasons, neither went on to win the year’s first Grand Slam event in Melbourne. In fact, no woman or man has ever won the Brisbane Open and the Australian Open in the same year. Perhaps two-time defending Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka should keep that in mind as she takes the court in Brisbane. Three-time defending men’s champ Novak Djokovic is interestingly not playing in Brisbane.