Our newsroom usually hums with industry at 7 o’clock on a Friday, as editors and reporters bustle about, preparing articles and photography for that night’s editions. But yesterday evening, we, with much of the rest of the country, stuttered to a halt – sub-editors groaning and clutching their faces, with one eye on the clock.
Regardless of the outcome of this Wimbledon championship, in Andy Murray we have a truly world-class sportsman; one rendered human by last summer’s blubbering, those Olympic medals and the recent, compelling BBC documentary which explored his childhood in Dunblane.
The most poignant moment in that programme came when Sue Barker asked Murray about the shooting at his primary school when he was nine. He broke down in tears, before answering the question for the first time in his career: “At the time, you have no idea how tough something like that is. As you start to get older, you realise. The thing that is nice now, the whole town recovered from it so well. It’s just nice that I’ve been able to do something that the town is proud of.”
Murray is the most stubborn competitor and has banished the defeatism that choked Centre Court (and living rooms across the land) whenever a Brit took to the grass. And he’s still only 26.
So what changed this year? He started enjoying himself again. “When I looked at early films of him, he played with such happiness and excitement, so my thought was that he needed to bring back the zest,” explains psychologist Alexis Castorri, who has joined Team Murray.
“It’s natural that when someone puts their heart and soul into what they’re doing, they sometimes forget how much enjoyment they once took from it.” Amen to that.