Watching Andy Murray come so close and yet fail at Wimbledon on Sunday, I realised there were yet two more reasons to respect the big Scot.
For a start, there is the fact that he cried.
Blubbing is one of the markers of genuine manhood. I’m not saying we should all break down all the time. Not a bit. But when the fighting done, and believe me he fought tooth and nail during his match with Roger Federerer, there is nothing wrong with letting go and showing people how you really feel.
The fact that he cries, and he is Scottish might confuse some people. Scots traditionally have a flintiness about them that keeps their eyes dry and fathers and sons, especially, unable to summon up so much as a handshake sometimes, never mind a hug. But Murray showed on Sunday that times have changed, for the better. His is a generation unafraid of feeling. The look of genuine love and affection that carried between him and his girlfriend Kim, and his mother and family, and all his supporters, was really quite moving.
And then he had to make a speech! After all that blinking tennis, line calls, gazillion deuces and heartache, he had to take a microphone and, off the cuff, barely able to speak at first, address the 15,000 people inside centre court -- who included (by the way) only the most famous celebs, royals and sport stars in the country... ever. Not to mention a worldwide audience likely to top half a billion.
Face it. Most of us get the jitters just standing up to say a few words after dinner with the in-laws. Jerry Seinfeld has a famous skit about how more people are worried about public speaking than they are about dying. Meaning that at a funeral, most folks would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.
So well done Murray: a 25-year-old man who can cry and stumble his way through a half decent speech. After that, surely winning a Grand Slam is only a matter of time.