Andy Murray at Wimbledon, just like England's footballers
The Scot sets down a marker, but he could be following in the footsteps of Roy Hodgson's side
IT HAPPENED at Euro 2012, could it be about to happen again at Wimbledon? After Andy Murray's ruthless destruction of Nikolay Davydenko on Monday hopes are building that the Scot could finally win the tournament.
Murray dispatched the Russian 6-1, 6-1, 6-4 in just over an hour and a half. At one stage he won nine games in a row and did not make a single unforced error in the first two sets. And that high-octane performance has convinced some that the Scot could go all the way.
The situation is not dissimilar to that in Ukraine, where the England football team began Euro 2012 as no-hopers and, thanks to a couple of half-decent performances, were suddenly tipped to win the tournament, before limping out against Italy in the quarter finals.
The same could well happen to Murray. Yesterday, before he appeared on Centre Court, his SW19 chances were rated as minimal and bookmakers were offering 12-1 that he could win the tournament, the longest odds against him at a Grand Slam for years.
He has a wretched draw, featuring the likes of Ivo Karlovic, Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro, and, as usual, he will probably have to beat two of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovich and Roger Federer to take the title.
But this morning everything has changed. "Andy Murray showed himself to be a genuine contender for this title, eviscerating Nikolay Davydenko in what was arguably his most complete performance on Centre Court," swooned The Daily Telegraph.
Even the BBC got caught up in the hyperbole. "Murray is once again bidding to become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a Grand Slam title, and on this evidence he will launch another strong challenge," it said.
It was certainly an impressive performance, his best since the epic semi-final with Novak Djokovich in Australia at the start of the year, according to The Guardian. It noted: "As if racing the closing of the night, the Scot blasted, chipped, sliced and lobbed Davydenko into a blithering shambles."
The Times, however, says there is a clear difference between Murray and Roy Hodgson's team of underachievers.
"It's not like watching the England football team," writes Simon Barnes. "We are watching a proper contender, one who needs no apologies, one who doesn't have to rely on anything except talent for the game in front of him. On yesterday's performance I'd tip him for the title right now - were it not for the other three."