Murray defeat could still be a breakthrough
Sometimes with Andy Murray we need to stop for a moment. Stop, take a step back, and consider where he is, what he is doing, and against whom.
We get caught up in matches and tournaments and break points and unforced errors. We get emotionally drained, emotionally torn and, I don't know about you, emotionally wrecked after a match like Friday's semi-final defeat by Novak Djokovic.
Like most top tennis players, Murray is sprinter and marathon runner at the same time, with the skill of a painter, brutality of a boxer, endurance of a triathlete.
Friday provided unequivocal evidence that he possess all these attributes to a world-class standard. He ran the best player in the world so close, over five sets and almost five hours, and is getting even closer to winning one of these big ones.
But of course I've said that before. We've known about his ability and his potential since the start of his career and he still hasn't broken his duck. So what makes this post-match post-mortem so different?
When he lost here last year in the final, we all tried to be upbeat in the aftermath but the performance was a worry. He left Australia in a downbeat haze and didn't win again until the clay-court season.
This time the mood couldn't be more different. Despite failing to match his final appearances of the last two years at the Australian Open, he should leave Melbourne with so much confidence for the year ahead. The line "...but he still lost..." will only be used by people who either don't care, or who don't understand sport.
Anyone who saw the match will understand its importance for Murray's future, especially the obvious acceptance that he needed to adapt his game to pressurise the big boys.
The purpose behind the groundstrokes, the advanced court position, the patience, the cool head, the victories on many long points, the risk taking on many big points. All of this is major progress from one year ago.
Even at the very start, when he strode on to court, he looked like a potential champion; head up, confident, a man. During the match he got frustrated at times but never let it affect his game. A huge improvement.
And what impressed me most was the boldness and confidence when facing set points in the third set. He hit the right sideline with an ace on the first, the left sideline with a forehand winner on the second, and an audacious drop shot set up the third. He backed his ability to make the shots, something we haven't always seen.
As Nadal commented during his pre-final press conference, the time to press home any advantage he had was a few minutes later, at the start of the fourth set. Dropping serve twice so quickly gave Djokovic belief again and triggered the Serb's best period of the match through until 5-2 in the final set.
But this is why I talk about stepping back and getting a sense of perspective. How can anyone expect to take a lead against the world's finest and not be hit by retaliation? The Djokovic recovery was predictable because that's what he does. We have to look beneath the surface for the real story.
We learned so much about Murray over these four hours and 50 minutes. He grew before our eyes. We got to know him.
He remains the world number four but, in one of the greatest eras of all time, closer to the top three than many suspected.