‘Mr Consistency’ Andy Murray has scored himself another runner-up trophy that will probably end up on his mother Judy’s shelf or in the rubbish bin. Yes that’s right, it’s that time of year when all the knee-jerk articles about Murray come out again.
He’s lost another Grand Slam final. Yes this one’s a bit unfair, as his loss was largely due to a foot complaint, but when do they stop becoming low blows? When he wins his sixth runner-up trophy? Seventh?
Or should it be now that we all fess up to thinking that Andy Murray doesn’t have what it takes to win?
I know what you’re thinking – lay off him, he may only have lost because he hurt his foot, and he beat this bloke, who happens to be one of the best of all time, last time they met in a Grand Slam.
But Novak had clearly already put his foot on the accelerator and started to turn the tide when Murray called for his trainer – he was going to be the first man in the open era to win the Australian Open three times in a row.
Was Murray ever going to achieve his goal for this summer of finally proving to everyone the contrary of my article?
No. He looked like it in the first set, but in the second, Novak flexed his muscles, and Murray started to get the better of himself.
In other words, situation normal.
Andy Murray has a fatally abiding penchant to decide he’s lost the match, sometimes less than halfway through.
For example, take this latest Grand Slam final against Novak Djokovic. His perpetual whinging gets him in a funk in which is impossible to win tennis in. Effectively he loses mentally, then loses physically.
And it’s not like this downcast attitude has only been apparent once or twice, or even only in grand slam finals.
We saw this similar sulking act against Roger Federer (which mind you, was a miraculous effort since he offed the greatest tennis player of all time, all the while looking like he was thinking about that 21-hour fight back to Heathrow).
But this similar disposition was brought to the Djokovic match, with minimal success.
Oh, but Andy’s a victim of the era, you say? Rubbish.
The big three of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic was coined for a reason: they were all evenly-matched players who could all beat each other on any given day.
Murray was added and it became the big four for the same reason. He was on their level. And he continues to prove that as he does continue to beat them; they’re not unbeatable.
In fact, players as young and as hot-headed such as our own Bernard Tomic are up and proving even the best of them are by no means unbeatable.
So perhaps Andy’s best chance to win a few more slams and crown himself one of the greatest is no, or in the near future.
Murray has proved plenty of things in his now eight years on the pro circuit. He’s a world-class player, a potential future world no. 1 and a massive choker.
In six out of the seven slam finals he’s been in, he’s lost and in only one of them he went for the full ride.
He is only 25. But he can train and train and train until he’s 45 and perhaps see the same results. He has to train from the inside out.
Murray’s attitude is one rarely seen by any champion tennis players, past or present. And not dissimilar to Bernard Tomic, whether Andy Murray wins 10 slams or his current total of one is entirely up to him.
Because his tennis performance against the greatest of all time showed that he has what takes to be the best player in the world.
If he really wants to be he’s got a funny way of showing it.