We celebrated Andy Murray’s elevation to number one in the world a week or so ago. But we, or the weak like me, wondered whether it was a flash in the pan. Djokovic, we knew, was returning to his old form. Was it not probable that he would be world number one again at the end of the year, after the ATP World Finals?
Then, much to the distress of Murray supporters, he found himself playing the two longest matches ever played at the end of season finals. Yes, he got to the final, but he must have been in a state of exhaustion. How could he possibly beat Djokovic (who rushed through his earlier matches without breaking sweat)?
Oh how lacking in faith we were. Tonight we discovered that Murray really is the best tennis player in the world. His comprehensive victory over Djokovic, someone he has regularly played against since the age of eleven, proved beyond any doubt that he is the best.
Actually, to be fair to myself, I have, for many years, thought Andy Murray had it in him to get to the top. But I have been almost worn down (he never quite succeeded) by the horrid average British sports’ supporter. Tennis, I think, demonstrates more than any other sport how thoroughly beastly the British sports’ fan is. When a Djokovic, a Federer or a Nadal loses a match, the British sports’ fan shrugs his shoulders and says “that was bad luck”. When Murray loses a match, which doesn’t happen very often these days, the British sports’ fan says “that shows what a hopeless player he is, and, anyway, he is Scottish”.
I wonder why the British are so disagreeable (I am told by those who follow association football that British fans of that sport are just as nasty).
I don’t suppose anything can be done about it. For the moment, the British sports’ fan will acknowledge Murray as a great player. But, when he loses a match, as he is bound to do one day, the average British fan will revert to asserting that Murray is hopeless.
Still let us enjoy the moment. And let us not forget that Judy Murray has two sons who are now ranked number one in the world. What an extraordinary achievement.