Murray to take aura of invincibility into new year
By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Forget the latest addition to Andy Murray's creaking trophy cabinet, the $2.4 million check and the adulation of a nation, the most significant upshot of his ATP World Tour Finals victory over Novak Djokovic is the aura it brings.
Murray, the new king of men's tennis, will take that rare commodity which few achieve in sport into the new season in spades.
It is an unquantifiable weapon and one that can sustain lengthy periods of dominance even when form is fickle.
Scroll through the annals of sport and there are some striking examples.
Steve Waugh's Australian cricket team had it, winning 16 consecutive tests between 1999 and 2001, so too have various New Zealand rugby union sides. Spain's national soccer team achieved an aura of invincibility between 2008 and 2012.
Individually, Michael Schumacher had it while winning seven Formula One drivers titles, as did squash great Jahangir Khan who was unbeaten between 1981 and 1986. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt exudes it every time he steps on to his blocks.
Murray knows only too well the debilitating effect it can have.
He has played and suffered in an era graced by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic who, at various times over the past decade, have had rivals mentally beaten before a point was even played. Continued...