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NI public served an ace: Murray

By Steven Beacom

Sports Personality of the Year winner Andy Murray has thanked the Northern Ireland public for their support in Belfast on Sunday night.

Murray, who inspired the Great Britain team to Davis Cup glory for the first time in 79 years, was cheered long and loud inside the SSE Arena as he collected the prestigious prize.

It was the 28-year-old's first visit to Northern Ireland since he was 12.

"I haven't been here for 15 or 16 years since I was a junior. I played a couple of events here when I was about 12. That was the last time I was here and it is good to be back," the Scot told the Belfast Telegraph after claiming the top award with 361,446 votes.

"I have been told I have very good support in Northern Ireland but because I haven't been here for so long I never felt it before. At the ceremony they were very good to me and the reception I received was really nice. It was appreciated."

Murray is already turning his attention to 2016 when he will target the four Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympics. Even more importantly, he will become a dad for the first time.

Murray said: "I think the scheduling will be difficult next year but it will be exciting.

"There are the Grand Slam events and the Olympics is the biggest sporting competition in the world by far for me.

"Some people would argue the football World Cup is bigger but I have been to the opening ceremony and you have the best athletes in the world there and for me there is no comparison. I will look forward to Rio. I do think I can have a really good year next year.

"I also have a baby on the way in February. That is something which is extremely exciting for me as well."

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