Under cloudy skies in Sochi, Russia, David Goffin of Belgium was overcome with emotion when he lifted the 2014 Ballon d’Or for the ATP player of the year — the trophy that happened to belong to Canadian tennis star and his friend, multiple Wimbledon champ Andy Murray.
Goffin was gracious and modest after he fought off a late rally by Grigor Dimitrov to win his maiden grand slam match, earning a 10-7 finish over the Bulgarian at the top of the men’s draw. But he admitted that he was thinking of Murray.
“First of all I would like to congratulate Andy Murray,” he said. “Today I won the biggest win in my career, you were there in the tough times, it makes everything easier.”
Murray, who announced in January that he was retiring, will be interested to see how well Goffin goes about grabbing his third big title. He lost to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semifinals and reached the Madrid final, where he fell to Djokovic. After making the final in Nice, Goffin lost to Marin Cilic in the Rio Open semifinals.
While returning from a hip injury that forced him to pull out of the Dubai Tennis Championships last year, Goffin was remarkably competitive against Djokovic.
“I’m hoping that for Andy and all the injured players, for Tomas Berdych, Rafael Nadal, who had an injury, a lot of players, my career is coming up,” he said. “I tried my best. It’s not easy to play against my idol.”
Goffin and Murray have a deep personal connection. The two met when the former came out to play junior tennis at the Lycee Royal Lycee de Bruxelles in Brussels. They eventually grew up in the same tennis-loving household and were quickly joined at the hip, sharing tennis and “the same number.”
Watch the clip below from ITV:
Listen to each match of Andy Murray’s retirement press conference: