Andy Murray has been true to one mantra throughout his tennis career – be nice to those you meet on the way up because you’ll meet them again on the way down.
World number three Murray recalls queuing for hours as a youngster at Wimbledon, patiently waiting for his hero Andre Agassi to sign an autograph.
But the American walked past and Murray hasn’t stopped signing since, claiming he wouldn’t want anyone to feel the way he did that day at the All England Club.
It’s a commitment to the cause that underlines why Murray is seen as one of the ATP Tour’s nice guys.
And there was further evidence at Roland Garros on Monday. Murray progressed to the second round with a regulation straight sets win and then dashed through his media commitments so he could rush to court seven to support rising British star Kyle Edmund – and it’s hard to see another top player doing the same.
Edmund duly completed his first Grand Slam victory with a five sets win and turned on his phone to find a congratulatory text from Murray, who he could meet in the third round, should he get the better of Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.
“It’s not easy being a young player in the locker room, surrounded by older guys or people that you’ve only watched on the TV and look up to,” said Murray.
“I remember a lot of the guys that were nice to me when I was young on the tour. Some guys weren’t nice and I remember that too.
“I was very grateful to all of those players because it can be tough. I would rather try to be one of the guys that the young guys look up to.”
Murray takes seriously his role as standard bearer of British tennis and wants more people to share that weight of responsibility.
Despite the individual nature of his sport he clearly enjoys being part of a team, underlined by his performances in the Davis Cup and joy of being part of Team GB at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, where he won singles gold and mixed doubles silver.
“It was great to have Andy out there supporting me,” said Edmund.
“He’d obviously just played his match and he didn’t have to come out and watch me but he did.
“It just shows that he really cares. I’m very fortunate someone like that is keen to help me.”
Image courtesy of Australian Open TV via YouTube, with thanks