School Shooting Survivor Becomes Rising Tennis Star

Among the competitors at this year's US Open is a 19-year-old rising star who witnessed a mass murder at his elementary school in Dunblane, Scotland, a decade ago.

Andy Murray was eliminated during the fourth round at this week's tennis tournament in New York in a match against Russia's Nikolay Davydenko, but he has quickly become one of the most watched and closely examined players in the world.

The life Murray is now leading would have been hard to predict in March 1996.

He survived a mass murder at his elementary school when he was 8 years old by hiding in the headmaster's office.

After gunman Thomas Hamilton stopped shooting and turned the gun on himself, 16 children and one teacher were killed.

Murray says he remembers little about the event and is rarely willing to speak about it.

When asked two years ago about the mass murder, he said to the BBC, "I was young at the time and didn't really realize how it was really difficult time for the town, but I think everyone has recovered really well from it."

Challenging -- and Beating -- Top Players

Murray won his first professional tournament earlier this year in San Jose, Calif.

Two months ago, he defeated American Andy Roddick at Wimbledon after receiving a good luck call in the middle of the night from another famous Scot, Sean Connery.

However, his most impressive win came just three weeks ago in Cincinnati at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters when he beat the No. 1 ranked player in the world, Roger Federer.

It was the first time the top-ranked Swiss player had lost in 55 matches in North America.

"The key at such a young age is you've got to keep getting better and then everything has a way of taking care of itself," said Murray's coach, Brad Gilbert. "Everything Andy can do can get better. He has a great head for a young kid."

"I think he can do wonders for the sport," said Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim. "He's very well spoken. He's very aware. He's very witty. He enjoys banter, and there's a real sort of cerebral aspect to his game and it's uncommon for a player so young to play with such smarts."

A Bright Future Out of a Tragic Past

Wertheim describes Murray's intellectual style of play as a "throwback."

"If you were a fan of the tennis in the '60s, '70s or '80s, you'll like his game because it's not predicated on muscle," he said.

His coach added that Murray's age was often obscured by that demeanor.

"You kind of forget when you go out to dinner with him he's only 19 years old. He's so bright," Gilbert said.

After enduring and surviving the horrific events in Dunblane 10 years ago, Murray has become one of the most exciting and promising players in his sport.

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