SO, have we all got our breath back from watching Andy Murray fall at the final hurdle in his date with destiny at Wimbledon last Sunday?
Like a lot of people, I have found Murray a difficult guy to like over the past few years. I’ve never met him, but just felt he wasn’t somebody I could warm to.
Well, over the Wimbledon fortnight I have grown to respect him – and more readily understand the weight of expectation that goes with him.I cannot think of a single British sportsman or woman who carries the same burden – not even our blessed England penalty-takers.
He was emotional and gracious in his defeat against Roger Federer – which are good qualities, but equally I enjoyed hearing him being himself on the radio a couple of weeks back talking about the Fantasy Football team that he’d selected during Euro 2012 in competition with his mates.
He talked refreshingly and openly like any other 25-year-old – his fame put to one side, just a necessary and probably, at times, unwelcome fact of his professional life.
I also think he has won other people over, including a building worker I spotted in Liverpool city centre last week watching Murray’s quarter-final against David Ferrer on a big screen.
His “Come on Andy!” as Murray hit a winning shot was as loud as anybody managed on Centre Court last Sunday.
Andy, you’re winning us over.
As for Roger Federer, we are watching a man in the autumn of his career but with a peerless ability at his chosen sport.
After the match he walked across the court, without a bead of sweat, and picked up the trophy as if he had just been playing in a local club singles rubber.