FOR the drinkers squeezed into the bar of the Dunblane Hotel yesterday, Andy Murray’s loss was merely a momentary blip in a career which sees their hometown hero go from strength to strength.
So obligatory has the reaction of locals in the bar to Murray’s success become, there were nearly as many journalists and photographers craning to see the screens as regulars when the action got underway.
Yesterday’s dreich weather and the fact the match was shown live on the BBC meant many in the town had no doubt stayed at home to watch the world No 3 take on world No 1 Novak Djokovic.
It is also, however, a sign of Murray’s growing stature in the game that many seemed less concerned at the outcome of yesterday’s final now that the Scot has his first slam title following his win at the US Open last year.
“I think everyone takes him a lot more seriously now than in the past when we were a little cynical about his chances,” said Campbell McNeil, a 42-year-old teacher who was watching the match with his wife. “I’m sure he will win another grand slam and he has to be confident going into Wimbledon.”
Steve Sadler, 45, a graphic designer, was among those remaining upbeat despite Murray’s defeat. “It’s been a great atmosphere, and gives you an excuse to start drinking at ten in the morning,” he joked.
Elsewhere in Dunblane, a small number of fans had gathered to watch the match at the local tennis club. Among those was Cameron McMillan, an 18-year-old sports management student and part-time tennis coach.
“Andy made a great start, but he just didn’t have quite enough today. He’s made a huge impact in Dunblane, though, and the number of people playing tennis has dramatically increased in the past few years.”
The chief executive of Tennis Scotland, David Marshall, who was among those watching the game at the club, added: “These matches are becoming bruising encounters which quite often come down to just a couple of crucial points.
“Had Andy gone two sets up today, I think things would have been different. Had he played in a different time, there is absolutely no doubt he would have won more grand slams by now. He will be in other finals this year and for years to come.”
Among those watching the game at home were Murray’s grandparents, Shirley and Roy Erskine. Shirley, 78, said: “We are as proud of Andy as ever. He fought hard and tried his best. We could see he wasn’t too down on himself because he’s not the nearly man anymore. He just came up against a brilliant opponent at the top of his game today.”