When England won the men’s football world cup in 1966, they can’t possibly have imagined that the press would still be going on about it nearly 60 years later as if they had an unalienable right to win it every four years forever more, and that subsequent failures to do so would be treated as some great galactic injustice rather than with acceptance of the fact they just weren’t good enough.
So when Andy Murray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title last year, it was obvious that the press would struggle with the thought that he might not win again last year – he’s won it once therefore he should automatically win it again until he decides he’s had enough. He played very well in the first week and didn’t lose a set. Then yesterday he played badly and lost badly, and Wimbledon 2014 is over for him.
The press seem to be taking it as a personal affront. How could this happen? WHY DID YOU LOSE ANDY TELL US WHY DID YOU LOSE HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US WHY DID YOU LOSE? There must be, according to the assorted British press (and by British, I mean based in England), some sinister reason for his poor form and defeat. Accepting that he had a bad day, played badly and was beaten by the better player seems to be beyond them.
And now the doom merchants are trying to suggest that his career is over – he’s lost a tournament and it’s the beginning of the end. Because of course when someone raises our expectations and sense of entitlement by winning something, if they later go on to lose, it must be because they’ve somehow become intrinsically rubbish.It’s not just they played badly, or someone else played better.
Dear England-based British sports media – Andy Murray is a great tennis player. He played really well last week, played badly yesterday, and will probably play really well again in the future and sometimes he might play badly. It’s not the end of the world, or his career. OK?
(and don’t even get me started on the “it’s because his coach is a woman” brigade. Seriously, just don’t).