Blessed And Cursed In Equal Measures.
So Scotland (and Britains) next great sporting export, Andy Murray is feeling the heat. After crashing out of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in the first round, he's started to lash out at what he feels is an intolerable pressure placed upon him by the media.
An unfortunate but not entirely surprising occurance.
At eighteen, he doesn't lack articulacy, but then maybe that's part of his problem. He likes to talk. It's never good to talk if your a sportsman or woman. Hacks will love you regardless if you're winning. When you lose, they feel entitled to ask questions they normally wouldn't with a more taciturn player. He stands in peril of turning into a sort of Victor Meldrew character(just ask Colin Montgomery), and responding to any and all catcalls. Failing that, he's just being the overly sensitive, spoiled little boy some people secretly think he may be. Why so defensive? Just admit you had a shit day and leave it at that.....................
Unlike most young sports stars, Andy also has the curse of being 'British'. We produce the square root of bugger all when it comes to individual sportsmen(footballers excluded), so when Andy Murray took on Tim Hennman's mantle of Wimbledon fan favourite last summer, the half hearted expectations placed on Hennman, a decent enough tennis player, were sent through the roof for Murray. The hyperbole surrounding his Wimbledon performance, generated by the press and TV, backed up by the kind words of the likes of Becker and McEnroe served to bypass in the minds of the general public the often gruelling and failure ridden path to the kind of consistant success enjoyed by any great tennis player.
He needs to treat the media like a wily old foe who can be engaged with but never trusted. Reasoning with the media will always be nigh on impossible because their job is to generate a simplified notion of what you are and what you do. The phrase "I need a few years to develop my game" is never going to hold much water when you've been sold to an eager public as the next big hope for a nation starved of any sporting success outside of football, rugby and recently cricket. All team games with large followings. Let's face it, tennis in comparison to any of these sports is hugely under-supported by the general public in Britain, except for a rather strange and unique fortnight in summer when every self appointed sport bore can hold forth on what he or she thinks about an activity they would never usually cross the road to watch.
Maybe a patchy few years paying his dues on the senior circuit will be a blessing in disguise for Murray. It may allow him to fade into the background for the amount of time needed to either be one of the greats or at the very least be a decent bet for some minor titles and the annual tilt at the All England Club shindig.