Murray still a work in progress
Amid the obvious disappointment of his fans and criticism from his enemies, Andy Murray should be applauded for another fine tournament in which he came up just a single match short.
When I used to race back up the hill from school to watch the rest of the day's play at Wimbledon, it would be in the hope that Chris Wilkinson or Mark Petchey would make the third round. This would be a British tennis triumph. We were worse than rubbish in those days, let's not forget it.
Three major finals is more than John Lloyd, Roger Taylor, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski put together. Andy Murray is comfortably the best tennis player these isles have been blessed with since Stockport's finest, Fred Perry and we should continue to support and celebrate him.
Novak Djokovic fully deserved his Australian Open victory. He was comfortably the player of the tournament and his defending in the final was nothing short of amazing. To win that incredible 38-stroke rally to earn a set point in the first, having looked out of the point three or four times, displayed the courage and ability of a Grand Slam champion. Congratulations Novak.
Murray was beaten by Djokovic in straight sets
I once wrote a music review for a national newspaper and got criticised for basing the piece on what was performed versus what I expected. The gig was good but, having an acute knowledge of the artist's work, I expected more.
With Murray we expect the best, we expect him to win one, only to find ourselves underwhelmed when he doesn't. Maybe next time we should all go in with zero expectations.
Certainly current evidence suggests that Grand Slam runner-up is a natural placing for him. Does he have the talent to win? Yes. Is he consistently good enough in every area of the game to win? I think right now we have to say no.
Highlights of Djokovic v Murray
As he said himself during the agonising debrief with the media, he needs to improve and keep working hard. Winning seven best of five-set matches is harder than we all think - perhaps harder than Murray thought.
It's not just the physical test but the stress of it all, the recovery, the preparation, the mental state and the consistency of stroke and attitude. Sadly, in the final Murray was lacking in too many areas.
He looked overly stressed, never at ease, even in that cagey first set.
The slump he suffered after losing that incredible 15-30 point in the first set's tenth game was far too drastic. The match was lost there.
Then in the topsy-turvy third set, when he had chances to get on top and work his way back in, he struggled to string a couple of points together. He was rattled by Djokovic's incredible defending and it seemed to drain all belief. It didn't look as though he truly believed he could win from there.
Djokovic was winning his second major after the 2008 Australian Open, while Murray waits for his first
With all this going on, how did he or any of his supporters expect to be celebrating a debut major? It simply wasn't going to happen with anything less than a perfect attitude and near-perfect performance.
We may one day discover that the leg problem was more serious than he let on. He said he was fine but struggled with his movement. Three smashes were missed, uncharacteristically, and one disturbing point in the third set saw his legs almost buckle underneath him.
He had no explanation for that but Pat Cash, summarising on 5 Live, said the same thing happened to him in his Aussie final with Mats Wilander. His gruelling semi with Ivan Lendl, he revealed, had made his legs feel like lead and footwork was the thing to go.
Lendl actually helps provide some comfort for Murray. The Czech star lost his first four major finals, like Kim Clijsters, before having a hugely successful major-winning career. Andre Agassi, Murray's hero, also lost his first three.
"I'm not Andre Agassi" Murray told me afterwards. He still might be, and needs to keep believing he can be.