Tennis: 'Brave' Murray wins over public despite defeat

By Paul Harper

Andy Murray has won over the British public and the media, despite his Wimbledon final defeat to Roger Federer this morning.

A running joke on Twitter prior to the match was the UK media would hail Murray as a Briton should he win, and a Scot should he fall to the Swiss champion.

Instead, Fleet Street was hailing his efforts as "brave", with his emotional post-game speech winning the public over.

The Telegraph website lauded the Scot with the headline "Brave Murray succumbs to fantastic Federer", while another story on the site said his "tears and raw emotion" had endeared him to a nation.

"Despite being Britain's best tennis player in several generations, Murray has at times endured a difficult relationship with the wider sporting public who have accused him in the past of being surly.

"However, anyone who witnessed the outpouring of emotions today could be left in no doubt as to how much the pursuit of a grand slam meant to him and the respect he held for those who gave him their support."

The Sun website also focused on Murray's emotional reaction to the loss, with the imaginative "New bawls please - Murray is the crying Scotsman".

"Andy Murray turned on the waterworks after his Wimbledon final dream was shattered."

The Mirror also joined other news sites in heralding Murray's emotional speech.

"He's been criticised in the past for lacking passion but Andy Murray choking back sobs as he relived his Wimbledon defeat by Roger Federer may have changed the perception of him forever..." the Mirror wrote under the headline "Have Andy's tears won the nation over? Twitter says yes!"

Television and sports personalities took to the social media website to hail Murray, the Mirror wrote.

"As it turns out, with that speech Andy Murray today has won more than any Wimbledon title is worth. He has won the hearts of the Country," TV host Eammonn Holmes was quoted as saying.

The Daily Mail website went with the headline "Murray mania turns to misery", although their story was more concerned with who was in the crowd, rather than the events on centre court, with Catherine Middleton, sister Pippa, the Beckhams, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and London Mayor Boris Johnson all in attendance.

Murray's emotional response should silence detractors who say the 25-year-old does not show enough emotion. Betting agency Betfair even narrowed Murray's odds of winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year from 16/1 to 5/1 after his speech.

Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker, writing just before the match kicked off, took aim at those critics who say the athlete never smiles or shows emotion.

"The people who want Murray to smile are the same ones who try to make me dance at weddings. They want the world to conspicuously enjoy itself in a manner of their choosing, and they turn vaguely sanctimonious when they encounter pockets of resistance, as though their definition of fun is the only one that matters."

Afterwards, Brooker wrote on Twitter that Murray "just rendered my column obsolete".

"Mind you, I think the general thrust about not smiling to order still stands."

- HERALD ONLINE

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