A look back over 2012 as Andy Murray showed his true colours
By Emma Bird. Last Updated: November 12, 2012 12:35pm
As Andy Murray heads into the winter break, he will have one eye on next season whilst the other glances back fondly at his most successful year to date on the tennis court.
Despite bringing his 2012 season to a close with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 defeat to Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals, the British No 1 remained upbeat as his campaign came to an end against the Swiss second seed in the semi-finals.
Since joining up with coach Ivan Lendl in January, the Scot has never enjoyed more success, both on and off of the court.
For Britain, 2012 was a truly golden year. For Murray it was the year in which he came of age.
Not only did it see him secure his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open, but it also, rather importantly, saw the public's perception of him change.
Whilst millions of British people sat watching the Olympic Games over the summer, something they witnessed on August 5th changed the way in which Murray has since been perceived by the British population.
Wimbledon was heaving, union flags were flying high and Murray was about to make history.
The 25-year-old became the first British man to win the Olympic singles gold medal since 1908, with victory over Federer, and in doing so, he gained a new legion of fans.
US Open: Murray poses with the trophy after winning his first grand slam
This followed a somewhat emotional Murray who began to reveal his hidden side after being forced to deal with a fourth Grand Slam final defeat in July, after losing the Wimbledon final to Federer on Centre Court.
Before this, the straight-faced, serious side of Murray was the norm, yet after reaching the Wimbledon singles final this summer, it was as though the clouds had lifted above Murray, letting small glints of sunshine seep through.
However 2012 was not all brightness. There were a few showers too.
The Scot was unable to advance past the French Open quarter-finals after losing to David Ferrer, and at Indian Wells, he lost his opening match in straight sets to world number 92 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Yet, on the whole, one thing Murray can most definitely take from the year of gold medals, public recognition and maiden Grand Slam's, is motivation.
This has been, without doubt, his most successful year yet it is also just the beginning.
His near miss at Wimbledon will have fuelled him for next summer at SW19, his Olympic gold medal means he now knows how unbelievable it feels to win such a huge title and his defeats weaved along the way mean that he still knows what bitter disappointment tastes like.
Following his loss on Sunday, Murray remained confident as he insisted: "It was an incredibly positive year.
"It's been the best year of my career by a mile. So why I would look back on that negatively now, it would be silly because I've achieved things I've never achieved before."
And there is the vital point. He made progress and developed as a player in 2012, and there is absolutely nothing that signifies this should stop as he heads into next season.
With Lendl by his side, as well as the British public which for so long was maybe the missing ingredient, Murray looks in a great position to be able to continue on his route to the top.
He has motivation, talent and support. The talent has always been within him somewhere, the motivation has grown with every victory and the support has emerged thanks to the Scot finally showing his emotions.
2012 was indeed a fabulous year for Murray; however, his defeat to Federer right at the close of the season will have also acted as a wake-up call for him.
In professional sport, rewards do not come easily and he will have to work incredibly hard to reach the pinnacle and continually secure titles. However, after making the great strides he has already; don't be surprised if 2013 ends with even more support and silverware.