British tennis star Andy Murray got emotional during a ceremony Wednesday as he was given the freedom of the city, an honorary distinction for public service, in his home town of Stirling, Scotland.
Murray was honored by the Stirling Council at Dunblane High School, which he attended briefly as a teenager. He grew up a few miles north of Stirling in the small town of Dunblane.
The 26-year-old is only the third person to receive the title since Stirling was granted city status in 2002.
“I think everyone knows I’m extremely proud of where I come from,” he said, choking back tears (via Sky News). “So to get this honor, it means a lot to me so thank you very much for everyone who’s come and everyone who’s voted.
“I apologize for this behavior,” he added to laughs and applause from the crowd.
Murray, the 2013 Wimbledon champion, later explained why the moment affected him so much.
“I don’t get the chance to come back that often and I don’t get the chance to see my family as much as I would like and I’m very proud of where I come from,” he said (via BBC). “I don’t think anyone would have really expected it – tennis players don’t really come from Scotland.”
Murray also took part in a question and answer session with students at Wallace High School in Stirling.
The world No. 8 Murray had a busy day and also received a doctorate from the University of Sterling for his services to the sport of tennis.
“I trained on the courts at the Scottish national tennis center at the University of Stirling when I was growing up and I remember playing against the students, which was great fun,” he said (via BBC). “I know there are many talented junior players practicing there every day and I’d encourage them to keep working hard toward their goals.”
Murray is scheduled to play at both the Madrid Open and Italian Open before heading to Roland Garros for the French Open, which runs from May 25 to June 8.