ERIC NICOLSON SPORTS EDITOR
We should have known it was going to be tearful at the end, both for Andy Murray and all the Scots who have followed the boy from Dunblane’s top-level tennis career for well over a decade.
Never can our small country have felt so invested in one of our athletes.
There has been collective anguish, joy and pride. Always collective pride.
That has been the beauty of the Andy Murray story; the raw emotion and vulnerability of the man has endeared him to a nation.
Five-set tennis matches took him, and us, on an emotional rollercoaster time and time again.
At times it felt like a relief when his big games took place in the middle of the night our time. You woke up to the score and didn’t feel as if you had been put through four hours of television torture.
Scotland has no right to expect a regular diet of world-class sporting moments, certainly not at tennis. But that is exactly what Murray has served up.
The very idea of a Scottish tennis player getting to a solitary Grand Slam semi-final was a far-fetched notion before the mid-2000s, yet he became a virtual permanent fixture in them year after year.
The titles he amassed don’t do the Andy Murray story justice.
This has been a Scottish sporting fairy tale like no other, and even the lack of a happy ending can’t change that.