Defeated Murray clings to crumbs
Andy Murray failed in his quest to win his maiden Australian Open, but his splendid run over the last six months offered him a crumb of comfort even after losing the Australian Open final to Serbian world number 1 Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic grabbed his fourth Australian and sixth Grand Slam title with a 6-7 (7), 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-2 victory in Melbourne. It was Murray's fifth defeat in six major finals, but the fact that he broke his duck at the US Open last year, after winning Olympic gold, softened the blow of Sunday's result.
"There's going to be some obvious reasons for me feeling a little bit better," said Murray. "The last few months have been the best tennis of my life - I made the Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, won the US Open, I was close here as well. It was close.
“I know no one's ever won a Slam, the immediate one after winning their first one. It's not the easiest thing to do and I got extremely close.
"So, I have to try and look at the positives of the last few months, and I think I'm going the right direction. This is the first time I've beaten Roger [Federer] in a Slam over five sets.
“I think I dealt with the situations and the ebbs and flows in that match well. I felt much more comfortable on the court today than even I did at the US Open, so that has to be a positive,” he told reporters.
Murray required treatment to a large blister on his foot after losing the second set against Djokovic, but insisted "it had no bearing at all on the result". He added: "It's just a bit sore when you're running around. It's not like pulling a calf muscle or something, it just hurts when you run, but it's not something that stops you from playing."
There was also a sore hamstring to contend with following his five-set win over Federer in the semifinals, but he said: "With how physical the game is just now, that's just part of it."
Murray was also disrupted by the unlikely appearance of a feather floating down onto court at 2-2 in the second set tie-break, as he was waiting to deliver a second serve. "I could have served," he said. "It just caught my eye before I served. I thought it was a good idea to move it. Maybe it wasn't because I obviously double faulted.
“At this level it can come down to just a few points here or there. Probably, my biggest chance was at the beginning of the second set; didn't quite get it.
"When Novak had his chance at the end of the third, he got his."