When it comes to sports talents in the United Kingdom the same process about expectations and reflections are nearly always adhered to. Hype them up to the point where anything less than winning the tournament is deemed ludicrous, and then if they fail; which quite often they do; compound their misery by coming down on them like a ton of bricks.
It’s a process used by fans and media alike and isn’t specific to any sport or individual; if you’re representing the UK in any way you can be sure this will apply. Think the England football team before any kind of major tournament. Every time we enter a competition the team is elevated in expectation to levels they cannot produce and then when they fail to win, negativity and abusive comments rain freely.
Murray under pressure to win
Much is the same for Andy Murray. When Murray is involved in a tournament he is expected by the British public to win. Anything less than claiming the title is deemed a travesty, regardless of levels of performance, burden of injury or just a much better opponent on the day.
Analysis doesn’t seem to be liked by the British public. The notion that winning is the only outcome that can make the fans happy cannot be truer, and it is that expectation that must weigh heavily on Murray’s shoulders.
Murray’s bid for a second US Open title was ended this week by Novak Djokovic in an enthralling quarter final match up. For large parts of the contest Murray was Djokovic’s equal; if not his superior at times; yet none of this matters. He lost. He’s out. How dare he? Right? Wrong. His run may have come to an end but the signs shown throughout the tournament, namely in the quarter final, have been encouraging.
Murray on a downward spiral since Wimbledon triumph
Ever since Murray won Olympic gold, and then subsequently went on to win Wimbledon, he has been on a bit of a downward spiral. This has been attributed to a range of problems. Injuries caused a lot of problems, so much so that he missed months out after surgery. Suggestions of a lack of motivated have surfaced due to reaching the pinnacle of his sport and realising his dreams. His coach Ivan Lendl split from his team.
These have all surely played parts in his downturn of form since Wimbledon 2013. Yet at SW19 this summer, and at the US Open, expectation was raised again about Murray’s prospects and then come down upon after his eliminations. It’s these negative attitudes that overshadows what was an encouraging performance from Murray, leading to fresh belief he can make the ATP World Tour Finals in November, and compete for Grand Slams next year.
People expect too much from Murray
The main problem in my eyes is everyone expects too much from Andy Murray. Here we have the most talented tennis player from these shores since Fred Perry, playing tennis most of us could only dream about, involved in matches of the highest calibre and skill, competing against some of the best players to hold a racket and with titles to his name, yet his failures always overshadow the success.
Andy Murray is probably the most talented sportsmen the UK have right now, why can’t we enjoy him? If he wins, great. If he loses, be understanding and accepting of issues that have surrounded him. He plays in an era including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
To win more than one Grand Slam with these powerhouses around is testament to the ability and mentality of the man.