By a Newsnet reporter
Andy Murray’s home town ground to a halt today as locals lined the streets to welcome home the Dunblane boy who created history last week by winning the US Open.
Smiling and with a saltire draped over his shoulders, Scotland’s newest sporting hero spent hours walking amongst fans chatting and signing autographs.
Many had spent hours waiting for the arrival of their hero and cheers erupted when he stepped off the special bus – cries of ‘Andy, Andy’ could be heard as youngsters strained for a glimpse of the tennis superstar.
It was New York last Monday, but today was all about his home town as a clearly relaxed Murray strode about receiving cheers and spontaneous applause from well-wishers, many of whom had travelled from other parts of Scotland just to experience the occasion.
The US Open Champion arrived in Dunblane on an open-top bus before taking part in a walkabout to celebrate his own summer of success. The Grand Slam title followed the Olympic Gold medal he won at Wimbledon by defeating Swiss legend Roger Federer.
Dunblane MSP Keith Brown said the “feel-good factor in Dunblane was tremendous”.
Mr Brown, who called for the tennis player to be given the Freedom of Dunblane and Freedom of Stirling, said:
“It’s great to see the town of Dunblane turn out in force to welcome Andy home.
“In particular, hearing throngs of young children chanting ‘Andy Andy’ was fantasic.
“The feel-good factor in Dunblane was tremendous. It was clear Andy was enjoying the three hours signing autographs and getting his photo taken with people.
“He was smiling non stop when he got off the bus at the start and walked for over three hours meeting the crowds.
“Andy has had a superb year and it was a privilege to be part of the hundreds of local people turning out to welcome him back to Dunblane.
“Everybody was very excited to see him and give him the welcoming home he deserved.”
Children at the tennis club where it all began for Murray were thrilled when he took part in a knockabout game with them.
Prior to his return, Murray had said: “I can’t wait to get back to Dunblane to where it all began and share my US Open victory with everyone and thank them for all the support.
“It’s definitely going to be emotional, but it’s a very special place for me.”
Stirling Provost Mike Robbins, who delivered a welcome on behalf of the whole area, said: “We’re so thrilled that Andy’s coming.
“It’s always a pleasure to welcome him back, but this time, of course, it’s extra, extra special.
“I visited local schools the morning after his US Open triumph, and everyone was just buzzing. The one thing the children wanted was the chance to say ‘well done’, and now we will all be able to do just that.”