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Andy Murray

 

Beside the Yarra River, at Melbourne Park, there was a Scot named Muzz, a Serb named Nole and 15,000 other folk. Muzz and Nole were good friends, and one cool still evening, they played a game of tennis.

Do you know what sank the Scot?

Could the lightest of feathers with the softest of touch be the thorn in the side of the Scot who wanted victory so much?

“It just caught my eye before I served,” said Murray. “I thought it was a good idea to move it. Maybe it wasn't because I obviously double‑faulted.” 

No, it wasn’t the feather with the softest of touch. Do you know what sank the Scot?

Was it the blister so red and painful that appeared out of nowhere and caused his fans to worry?

“No,” said Murray. “It's just a bit sore when you're running around. You know, it's not like pulling a calf muscle or something. It just hurts when you run.”

No, it wasn’t the blister so red and painful. Do you know what sank the Scot?

Turns out it was Novak Djokovic who sank the Scot. But these are questions that Murray’s legions of fans will be asking as they come to terms with his 6-7(2) 7-6(3) 6-3 6-2 loss to the world No.1 in Sunday night’s men’s singles final.

Having taken the first set in a tiebreak, the feather interrupted Murray at a crucial moment in the second set tiebreak. With the score locked at 2-2, Murray served a fault, and as he was about to deliver his second serve, a feather floated into his line of sight. Murray stopped to pick the feather up and dispose of it. He then promptly double faulted, handing Djokovic a crucial mini-break.

It was all the world No.1 needed. He ran away with the tiebreak to level the match at one set apiece after Murray had played so well and looked the stronger of the two.

During the break, a trainer came to tend to a blister on Murray’s right foot. The third seed refused to blame the blister for losing the match, but it certainly did appear to slow him down.

The third set continued the same way as the first two, with players holding serve and breaks still non-existent. Leading 4-3, Djokovic found himself with three break points at his disposal. Murray defended two, but Djokovic snared the third. It was the first break for the match, some 33 games and close to three hours in the making.

“Yeah, that's the thing that was surprising.  You know, I think the first two sets I had more of the chances in games on his serve,” said Murray. 

“That was obviously one of the differences. He just returned a little bit better. But it was surprising that there was so few breaks the first three sets.”

With the third set safely in his pocket and a two-sets-to-one lead established, the Serb grew bolder and more confident.

Murray continued to fight as best he could, but between his laboured movement and an opponent who was swinging freely and finding luck at almost every turn, the task was simply too tall for the Great Scot.

Djokovic wrapped up the fourth set quickly, breaking Murray two more times to close out the match.

Leading into Sunday night’s final, Murray was hoping to claim back-to-back majors and stop Djokovic’s quest to go back-to-back-to-back in Melbourne. But history was against him.

“I know no one's ever won a slam, the immediate one, after winning their first one. It's not the easiest thing to do,” he said.

“And I got extremely close.”

It was a familiar end for both players – Djokovic is four wins from four finals at Rod Laver Arena, while Murray is three losses from as many finals in Melbourne.

 

 

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