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Regardless of last night's result at Flushing Meadows, can anyone doubt that it was already a phenomenal achievement for Andy Murray to have reached the final of the US Tennis Open?

The enthusiasm of the English public for Tim Henman in his Wimbledon pomp was genuine and abiding. But this is something different. Without wishing to dismiss Henman's talents, Murray is simply a better player. Indeed, he is now unequivocally one of the best in the world.

Now that they have a genuine championship contender on their hands, one suspects that Britons will start to love Murray a little more. And this bicep-kissing young Scot could do more to bolster the union than a thousand platitudes from politicians. The only disappointment is that only those with a subscription to the Sky Sports channel were able to watch the most significant match in the history of British tennis since Fred Perry won the same tournament 72 years ago. If Murray is going to feature in grand-slam finals, the BBC should be bidding for the rights to screen them. For Britain, tennis is no longer just about Wimbledon.

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