Andy Murray’s Wimbledon dream vanished at the hands of the peerless, elegant Swiss master Roger Federer, winner of the title seven times now, though in all those triumphs he could never have been more accomplished – or ruthless – as he was on Sunday, coming from one set down to win in four.
Credit Murray for giving his all, but it did become something of a slow torture in the closing stages as the outcome unfolded, the mood of inevitability turning to one of nagging annoyance as the BBC cameras kept capturing a middle-aged member of the blue rinse set waving a Union Jack every time Murray won a point – as if that helped.
When the camera panned in on Federer’s moment of triumph, there were a couple of front-row spectators who also raised hackles.
They just sat there, blank and stern-faced, not exhibiting any trace of emotion from their privileged (expensive) ringside seat, nor even a gesture of congratulation by way of generous applause for Federer after his master-class display.
At the end of the final, Murray was in floods of tears, as were a number of people in the Centre Court stands and at home watching on TV, proving that crying is just as infectious as laughter.
In the aftermath of the Federer win, the debate in some quarters was about how much Murray’s tears would win sympathy among those who hitherto have been ambivalent about his career achievements, perhaps making him even more ‘marketable’ having won the sympathy vote.
It always seems to come down to money, not just in tennis.
Once upon a time, the winner of Wimbledon had to make do with a voucher for winning, not getting minted a la Murray.
It is arguable that the achievement of Murray’s soundalike fellow-Brit, Jonny Marray was on a par with the Scot from Dunblane as he teamed up with Denmark’s Freddie Nielsen to win the men’s doubles.
Even the most dedicated follower of lawn tennis would have struggled to have even heard of Marray before this past fortnight.
Such was Marray’s low standing in the game that he nearly missed out on competing at Wimbledon at all.
He had planned to play with Canada’s Adil Shamasdin, but such was the pair’s collective obscurity that their combined ranking was not high enough to get them into the tournament, hence Marray’s switch to play with Nielsen
Never has a winning prize of £130,000 – Marray’s share of the doubles prize money – been so richly earned.
Notwithstanding Murray’s near-miss, these have been an historic championships, in no small measure to Marray.
Maybe the future for British tennis is bright and what has happened on the show courts over the past two weeks could well have inspired no end of youngsters to take up and excel at the sport.
But what usually happens is that tennis slips out of the national stream of consciousness and the interest is only revived when Wimbledon comes round again 12 months down the line.
*BRADFORD Park Avenue Football Club were thrown out of the Football League in 1970 and four years later were forced into liquidation.
Seven years’ earlier, the city’s rugby league club, then plain, old Bradford Northern went out of business for a time.
Bradford City FC, weighed down by debts estimated at £13m, entered administration in 2001 and plummeted into freefall down the divisions after that.
This week Bradford Bulls RL Club were teetering on the brink of oblivion, their position of pre-eminence in the Super League now a dim and distant memory, with the fans and players united in harbouring a feeling of betrayal at the latest dire turn of events.
Do you think there is some sort of pattern developing here?
Maybe the good people of the Yorkshire city might just need to be better served by the supposed guardians of Bradford’s proud sporting heritage.
Instead, they are being sold down the river.