Scottish tennis star Andy Murray said he'd still play for Great Britain in next year's Davis Cup after fans and critics jumped on him for tweeting support for his native Scotland's independence on the morning of Thursday's referendum. The tweet was retweeted nearly 18,000 times and received both words of support and disapproval.
Huge day for Scotland today! no campaign negativity last few days totally swayed my view on it. excited to see the outcome. lets do this!
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) September 18, 2014
Murray told the Daily Mail that "as far as I'm concerned the vote doesn't change anything" in regards to playing for the U.K. in March. He stirred up controversy in late August when he said he'd play for Scotland if Scottish voters chose to break away from the U.K., but said he didn't think it was likely.
"I’ve followed pretty much everything about it over the last two weeks, and especially in the last few days, and that’s how I felt at the time," Murray continued. "It’s not my decision, I can’t vote. It’s for the Scottish people to decide and I trust them to make the right decision."
He went on to say he hoped the vote wouldn't divide Scots no matter the outcome.
"I will support whatever the outcome is. Regardless of how it goes, I think it’s very important for everyone to come together and stick together afterwards," Murray said.
Murray has previously shied away from the independence question, likely due to his popularity in all areas of the U.K. He won the BBC's popularly voted Sports Personality of the Year in 2013 after winning the Wimbledon tournament in London, where he now resides. The Davis Cup is considered the "World Cup of tennis" and involves the 16 best men's national tennis teams from around the world. Murray frst represented the U.K. there in 2005, when he was 18.
Scottish independence leader Alex Salmond famously waved a Scottish flag behind British Prime Minister David Cameron when Murray won, which many Brits disapproved of, including Murray himself.
A going joke among Brits is that "Andy Murray is Scottish when he loses and British when he wins." There's even a now-defunct website called "The Andy Murray-O-Meter" that decides whether Murray should be referred to as British or Scottish depending on his performance.
"If he's doing well, winning, and being happy, the rest of the country will embrace him as a fellow Brit," the site reads in its "Frequently Asked Questions." "If he stuffs it all up, the Scots can keep him."