The Lawn Tennis Writers' Association has honoured Andy Murray and Billie Jean King at their annual awards lunch at the All England Club.
Murray, the Wimbledon champion, becomes the first ever back-to-back winner of the tennis writers' main award, in recognition of his historic feat in becoming the first British men's singles champion at Wimbledon for 77 years.
"Todayʼs salute to Murray is historic in many ways, not least that he becomes the first person since 1951 to win this award twice and in consecutive years," wrote Neil Harman in the LTWA's tribute to Murray. "The LTWA had stuck rigidly to the principle that once awarded it could not be won again [and on occasions past this often left us with fewer than a handful of legitimate candidates] but we had to make an exception this of all years. How could Andy not win, having done more for the game in one fortnight than anyone else can hope ever to achieve? How could we not honour his greatness, the many admirable qualities, the spirit, the determination, the talent, the quality, the years of carrying an unequal burden, the driven man."
The Wimbledon champion is currently training in Miami and so could not be in attendance to collect his award, but he recorded a video message thanking the writers for their recognition and support, while his mother Judy collected the trophy on his behalf.
King, meanwhile, received the LTWA International Award in recognition of her long-standing role as an ambassador for women's tennis. King famously instigated a meeting at London's Gloucester Hotel 40 years ago, a meeting which brought about the formation of the Women's Tennis Association.
“It was a long road but we got there in the end, but would it all have happened without those meetings in the Gloucester?” asked King with a distinct tone of pride at achievement in her voice. “I guess thatʼs something we will never know but I know every one person that I made sure was kept locked in that room until we made a decision remains delighted with what we eventually achieved. We now have a level of equality that the pioneers dreamt about.”
Former champions Virginia Wade and Maria Bueno received the award on King's behalf.
The LTWA was also delighted to welcome British players Anne Keothavong and Johanna Konta, as well as impressionist star Josh Berry, alongside various greats and former greats of the tennis media world.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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