Andy Murray surprised to land BBC Sports Personality of the Year award


Tennis champion Andy Murray has said he never expected to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2015.

The 28-year-old, who played a crucial role in the Great Britain team triumph at the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years, said his money would have been on other nominees - including controversial boxer Tyson Fury - to win.

Speaking minutes after collecting the award at Belfast's SSE Arena, he said: "I didn't expect to win because there have been so many great performances this year. I am a big boxing fan, I know what Tyson Fury did, it was an incredible achievement.

"What Jess Ennis did - winning a World Championship gold medal is an extremely difficult thing to do.

"To do it so soon after becoming a mother - I'll never be able to know what that is like but I can imagine the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into that, and sacrifices as well must be great.

"I didn't expect it."

Rugby league star Kevin Sinfield was the runner-up while world champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill came third.

Murray, whose wife Kim was unable to attend because she is expecting a baby in the spring, said he had not prepared an acceptance speech.

He added: "You never can please everybody but I have tried my whole career to be myself as much as I could.

"I love competing for my country and my results when I have competed for my country are much better than when I am playing on my own.

"I do genuinely love it and I am proud to compete for Great Britain always. The support has always been there for me when I played in the biggest matches of my career."

Murray - picking up the award for the second time- joked about the media perception of his personality.

He said: "A friend actually sent me a message the other day with an article from a newspaper which said that 'Andy Murray is duller than a weekend in Worthing', which I thought was a bit harsh - to Worthing."

The inclusion on the shortlist of world heavyweight champion boxer Fury had sparked a major outcry.

Controversial comments he made allegedly equating homosexuality with paedophilia and joking about being violent to women prompted gay and equal rights campaigners to mount a small but vocal protest outside the SSE Arena.

Murray revealed he had stayed up to watch last month's clash against Ukranian Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf.

He said: "Not everyone, obviously, has to agree with what he said but I do agree and believe that he has the right to say it. That's freedom of speech and people have the right to disagree with what he says as well."

Although he declined to comment on the red carpet, Fury later apologised from the stage for any offence his remarks may have caused.

He said: "If I've said anything in the past that has hurt anybody, I apologise to anybody who has been hurt. It was not my intention to do that."

Team of the Year was awarded to Great Britain's Davis Cup team in recognition of winning the trophy for the first time in 79 years.

Captain Leon Smith collected the gong alongside Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans, Dominic Inglot, Andy Murray, Jamie Murray and James Ward, who all contributed to the historic triumph.

A lifetime achievement was presented to champion jump jockey AP McCoy, who retired in April after a 20-year career during which he rode 4,300 winners including at the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Ellie Downie received the Young Sports Personality of the Year and was presented with her award by boxer Carl Frampton and athlete Dina Asher-Smith.

The 16-year-old gymnast, from Nottingham, made history when she became the first British female to win an individual all-round medal for Great Britain at the European Championships with a bronze.

One of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for inspirational eight-year-old Bailey Matthews who, despite having cerebral palsy, completed the Castle Howard Triathlon in North Yorkshire in July, conquering the 100m swim, four-kilometre bike ride and 1.3-kilometre run.

When asked by presenter Gabby Logan what it feels like to be famous, he said: "It feels good. It's cool."

As Bailey made his way to the stage to collect the Helen Rollason Award, the entire audience rose to their feet for a standing ovation.

Northern Ireland football manager Michael O'Neill was recognised as Coach of the Year after his team qualified for the European Championship finals for the first time.

The former Shamrock Rovers manager is expected to lead his nation in France next summer as they compete in their first major tournament since the 1986 World Cup. He said he was humbled by the honour.

All Blacks Rugby star Dan Carter was named as Overseas Sports Personality of the Year before the event after the award was decided by a public vote for the first time.

This year's Get Inspired Unsung Hero prize went to West Belfast man Damien Lindsay, who formed St James Swifts football club to prevent young people in his local area from being dragged into anti social behaviour like rioting.