Can beaten Andy Murray regain magic to win Grand Slam again?
British tennis viewers woke up relatively early on Sunday in the hope of watching Andy Murray claim a third Grand Slam title and first at the Australian Open against world number one Novak Djokovic.
While the Scot started well, taking the first set into a tie-break, and even being a min-break up, he lost crucial points with silly unforced errors when he was seemingly in charge. He went 1-0 down.
Murray battled back to level the scores, but completely faltered in the final two sets, losing the last one to nil. His title chance and spirits were literally crushed, losing 7-6 6-7 6-3 6-0.
That now means he has lost four Australian Open finals, three against old rival Djokovic, and six at all Grand Slams.
The Scotsman, who is Britain’s best tennis player since Fred Perry, continues to allow his long-term friend get the better over him in head-to-heads, and even psychologically.
After the match, Murray admitted that Djokovic, who is known for his on-court antics by remarkably coming back from a seemingly serious injury, had got to him mentally, by saying: “The third set was frustrating because I got a bit distracted when he fell on the ground after a couple of shots.
“It appeared that he was cramping, and then I let that distract me a little bit.
“So yes, I’m frustrated at myself for letting that bother me at the beginning of the third set, because I was playing well, I had good momentum, and then just dropped off for 10 minutes and it got away from me.”
But Murray, who has also been accused of ‘faking injury’ in the past, added: “I mean, it’s obviously what he thinks. I would hope that that wouldn’t be the case. I don’t know. I don’t know. I have no idea.
“But if it was cramp, how he recovered from it, that’s a tough thing to recover from and play as well as he did at the end.”
There is no doubt about Murray’s ability, as he has claimed Wimbledon and US Open titles, as well as winning an Olympic Gold medal in London, but it seems he has gone backwards in terms of mental strength, since he split with former coach Ivan Lendl.
Ex-great Lendl was in the same position as the Scot earlier in his career, losing his first four Grand Slam finals, but Lendl eventually overcame that record to left eight trophies overall. The Czech-born legend was arguably the most important part of Murray’s career, overseeing the Scot’s most decorated period to date.
The year 2015 is still young, though, With three Grand Slams to go, and Murray is a 7/2 chance with Coral to win Wimbledon again. He is also 5/1 to claim a second US Open, and a longer 20/1 chance for a maiden French Open on clay.