In her latest Advertiser column, Ruth Wishart reflects on the legacy Sir Andy Murray will leave behind when he retires from the tennis court...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And still he re-wrote the script. Written off by everyone, including himself, he somehow came from two sets down in the Australian Open to star in a feisty five setter – only losing when his battered body finally gave up on him.

All hail Andy Murray, the man whose heart is his strongest muscle.

Like everyone else who has had hip surgery for pain relief, I found it difficult to believe on Monday morning how a man who had confessed putting on socks was problematical and dog walking an ordeal, could possibly throw himself around the court the way he still did. Especially since, between adrenalin fuelled points, he had difficulty putting one leg in front of another.

READ MORE: Helensburgh tennis community's tributes to 'legend' Sir Andy Murray

I’ve spent a lot of my life glued to his various tournament appearances, and not a second feels wasted. From truculent teenager to globally admired tennis ambassador, Andy Murray has been a Scottish export of whom the whole country can be proud. Often misunderstood by sections of the English media, unused to the arid nature of his humour, he was latterly lauded by them all. Difficult to stay iffy about a man who had won so much and given so much to his sport.

Particularly touching were the tributes from female tennis stars, led by the legendary Billie Jean King, who have had reason to be grateful for a male tennis great who stood up for equality, who was the first top male player to hire a female coach, and who argued long and hard for equal pay and equal centre court prominence. I daresay having a mum like Judy gave him an early insight into what the “weaker sex” was capable of.

Billie Jean posited the notion that the best of Andy Murray may yet be to come, though not as a player. Her “retirement” has been devoted to making improvements in the game, taking on the “aye been” tendency, and generally standing up for those who came after her on the courts.

In the UK, Judy Murray has spent her life similarly tilting at the Lawn Tennis Association blazerati, who raked in multi millions for the sport thanks to Wimbledon and other top tournaments, but seemed endlessly clueless as to how to invest them to grow the grassroots game.

READ MORE: Helensburgh's Gordon Reid pays tribute as Murray announces retirement

Neither Andy nor big brother Jamie – both of whom have been number one in their discipline – came through that “system”. And all the while Judy has put in the hard thousands of miles, often at her own expense, preaching the gospel of playing tennis for fun.

That’s a job Andy could replicate, given his reputation and the awe in which he’s held by the junior ranks. Other roles have been mooted; next Davis Cup captain, coach to other talented aspirants to the top tier. This independently minded man will choose his own destiny, and will succeed at it.

I would make just one plea: everyone knows you love Wimbledon and that Wimbledon loves you. But you’ve been there and won that. Twice. Don’t give yourself five more months of pain when you know a third victory won’t happen.

Have the op. Hug your kids. Walk your dogs. Listen to your missus and your mammy. Leave on a high. We won’t miss you because you won’t ever be away. Just around in a different guise.

Top man. Top human.