At last! About time! Good on you!
76 years of hurt, never stopped us dreaming. Andy Murray has finally won a tennis Grand Slam in an almost 5 hour, five set thriller against Novak Djokovic in the US Open.
Cue great rejoicing. You’d have thought the cumulative effect of sporting glory throughout 2012 would have led to weariness with celebrating, but no, each new triumph is simply building the hysteria. The Scottish Government is about to declare tennis the national sport.
Tabloid journalists have been feverishly photoshopping Murray with Braveheart facepaint throughout the night, and hastily re-writing their stock “Murray bottles it again” articles (did they have a “Murray wins at last” article in reserve, like obituaries for famous people?)
Be honest – you thought it would never happen, right? You thought he lacked the killer instinct, that he was another Tiger Tim Henman bottling it on the biggest stage (ignoring the fact that Henman should never have got anywhere near the top ten, never mind 4th in the world, and was actually an amazing example of where hard work and self-belief can get you).
After 4 Grand Slam final beatings Murray finally got it right on the night. Even when Djokovic powered back in the third and fourth sets, he held his nerve and showed incredible mental strength to win the final set in style.
What’s the explanation? Is it the Ivan Lendl effect? Certainly the 8-time Grand Slam winner should get great credit for his calming influence and injection of mental steel into the Murray psyche. Anyone who could carry off those jumpers for so long with a look of complete indifference has to be made of stern stuff (Yes, I had one as a kid. No, I don’t know where it is now and I’ve burnt all photos of me wearing it!) Andy needs to release a new line of these diamond-patterned horrors in homage to his coach.
Winning gold at London 2012 also must have helped. The sense of achievment, the release of tension and pressure, the ability to visualise winning against one of Federer/Nadal/Djokovic in a five set final from experience rather than imagination, all must have contributed to this win.
This seems to be the summer when Great Britain’s sportsmen and sportswomen can do no wrong. It’s been a phenomenal gold rush that we don’t want to end, but know it must. If only we could rush through a permanent senior Team GB football team and call a snap World Cup, even football glory might be achieved at last – a 5-0 thrashing of Moldova doesn’t really cut it with the achievements of Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis et al, and now of Andy Murray.
It’s the summer when, if you’re a British athlete, it seems you can’t lose. Lewis Hamilton must be feeling supremely confident of overhauling Fernando Alonso in the Formula 1 championship! We’re even leading the Konkura sport and fitness challenge national leaderboard ahead of competitors from the USA and Australia.
It’s a great time to be British from a sporting point of view – now how the hell do we transfer this to the economy?!