US Open (a final word)
All credit to Neil Armstrong and pals, but Murray’s win – at least for British tennis fans – feels better than Man’s first walk on the moon.
The world feels a different place. With Andy Murray’s victory the landscape of British tennis in the modern era has fundamentally changed. It doesn’t matter that before winning we thought him capable of doing so. That he had the skill and the persistence, the right team, the experience. This is of a whole different order. The simple fact of winning his first slam has left us with a new reality. And that makes all the difference to our perception of him and of the game.
It is a huge achievement on many levels. Not least because the British mindset could have defeated Andy a year or two ago. Such an outlook is often fuelled by an overly-critical British media. But it is also fed by a peculiar and too often pernicious self-deprecation, a feeling that it is always better somehow to be the underdog, that we should feel arrogant if we admit our talents and achievements.
Pros and cons of self-deprecation
He couldn’t completely ignore the powerful forces and restrictions of our cultural milieu, but he overcame them – no small feat – and today has been rewarded. It was interesting to hear him talk, in the BBC post-match interview, about his worries going into the match, and of the relief he felt after winning. These are valuable, honest and endearing sentiments. So while we need more confidence as a nation, it does not rule out the positive self-appraisal and integrity that helps lead to improvement and great achievement.
Self-deprecation can be good. It gives us great comedy and great drama; it gives us pleasant and admirable characters across a range of sports. But too much of it, too often, can wreak havoc with a person’s confidence, often subsconciously. It has been a ceaseless chain through the generations. Shocked at our past achievements, we ask, for example: how did we ever win the war?… and answer with a submissive smile: we didn’t, the American’s did it for us. There is no end to the British capacity to flagellate ourselves for past failings, unfortunate mishaps and jolly disasters of potentially heroic men and women.
This is why Murray’s win – in addition to the physical demands of such a long match against a truly exceptional player like Novak Djokovic – was something that will stand as one of the great moments in British sporting history. It’s great to be around during what has been called a new golden era in tennis. Or the Roger, Rafa, Novak and Andy Show as it could now be called, with each winning a slam this year.
It’s an honour to watch them.
Related external link: Murray’s self-doubts
Copyright © 2012 David Hansard / davidhansard.wordpress.com
All articles on davidhansard.wordpress.com are written by David Hansard unless otherwise stated.