James Corrigan: Murray is far from ready to be put out to grass

The Last Word: The US Open will present the Briton's first chance to show the doubters he is still on an upward path

Of course there are two ways to look at everything, but only one of them happens to be right. That much was confirmed to any observer who peered into the blackened eyes of Andy Murray on Friday night as he was reminded of his excellence in this year's majors.

Garry Richardson doubtless meant well when he listed a final appearance in Melbourne and semi-finals in Paris and at Wimbledon. But as Murray's gaze focused ever more intently on the ground, the BBC man might as well have been a judge reading out a charge sheet. You really weren't helping, Garry.

But then, at least Richardson had the grace to analyse this latest humbling in the context of a season of close calls. That will be the reason for the frustration burning inside Murray, not the continuation of any phoney Wimbledon curse. Yet seemingly everyone else in Britain could only view his defeat by Rafael Nadal in the context in a lifetime of anti-climaxes. "We've seen it all before," goes the lament. Yes, for the majority,tennis is over for another year.

Yet there are 57 days until the US Open. This is the only period of time occupying Murray's psyche. His life doesn't start or end in the first week of July and neither does his ambition. On the surface he has to be seen to care, but deep down he won't be greatly interested in the fact that his country hasn't had a Wimbledon men's singles champion in 75 years. What obsesses him is the fact that Andy Murray hasn't lifted a Grand Slam title in 24 years. And a fairy tale in New York would be as sweet as anything SW19 could ever serve up.

Naturally, Murray would declare Wimbledon glory as "more special". But as the right thing to say was reverberating through his tonsils, he would be aware it is impossible for anything to be "more special" than the realisation of a dream. Mere geography wouldn't come into it. That is why proper Murray fans will not leave their support on ice for 12 months, and will follow his progress to the hard courts with genuine hope rather than insulting resignation.

There is absolutely no justification in writing off his chances, regardless of the brilliance of Nadal and Novak Djokovic, or the suspicion that Roger Federer has one or two left in him. Nadal expressed his sympathy for Murray not because of his loss in front of a desperate "home" crowd but because of the individual's body of work in 2011 thus far. The Spaniard acknowledges the blindingly obvious– Murray is close and getting agonisingly closer – and would be the first to say that "sometimes it isn't meant to be" is claptrap of the most nonsensical order.

What exactly is this based upon? Tim Henman? He wasn't good enough. Murray has reached three more Grand Slam finals than Henman did and he has done so in a stronger era. By this evening, Nadal, Djokovic and Federer will have won 25 of 26 Grand Slams between them, a remarkable ratio considering that the previous 16 had been spread around 12 players. It is enough to deepen the weariest of glooms, but there is, at the very least, one ray of light. Murray is on his way up, while one of the fearsome threesome is palpably on his way down. The vicissitudes of form and fitness say that there will be a hole to be filled, and that is what must drive Murray forwards. Thankfully, we can rely on that.

His sum-up in the grim aftermath was one of sport's more honest assessments. It was different in circumstance and tone to Rory McIlroy's Masters soliloquy in April but, to my mind, it was no less commendable. While Nadal bemoaned Murray's luck, the man himself spoke of the need to improve by 10 to 15 per cent and of "working three per cent harder". The maths didn't add up, because Murray couldn't work 15 per cent harder. That is just one reason why we should give praise and not indifference to our lone tennis hero.

Remember, he has got there by himself, not because of a nation's rich tennis heritage and certainly not because of the Lawn Tennis Association. British tennis is having a run for its money that it doesn't deserve. Yet still they wail. Why? Only Wimbledon comes to its conclusion today. Nothing else and nobody else is finished. The shows go on and Murray goes on. Don't presume his destination. Simply cheer him on his way.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions