Being true to oneself10th July 2012
Well, did you cry on Sunday? Did your eyes well up in sympathy for Andy Murray who, having lost to one of the greatest tennis players of all time, had to tell the world how he felt about not winning Wimbledon. No wonder he struggled to control his emotions in front of the thousands on Centre Court and on ‘Murray Mound’, not to mention the millions watching on TV. What an ordeal! It must have been worse than playing in the match.
But what struck me was the authenticity of his response; it showed how much winning the Championship mattered to him and how much losing hurt. And we got all this emotion from a man who has variously been described as dour, moody and difficult. Many of today’s newspaper stories have said that showing his emotions has won him many fans. How funny – why should seeing him cry make him a better tennis player and more worthy of our support? Obviously we were not judging him as a sportsman but as a man, and we preferred seeing the vulnerable Murray rather than the unsmiling face we were familiar with on TV.
It is funny, because all the tennis writers that interview him regularly say that he is clever, funny, straight, engaging, interesting, and not afraid to say what he thinks. Unfortunately Andy Murray struggles to show the real ‘him’ in post-match TV interviews – that is until Sunday afternoon, when we saw what he really felt. And the moral of the story? If you want to win supporters and fans then be authentic, show them how much it means, how much you want it. Funnily enough, if we were going to prepare someone for a media interview in front of that number of people we would have rehearsed the questions and answers. But I guess a post-loss interview is not something you would ever rehearse. How can you think about how you’ll feel when you lose when as a player all you should be doing is visualising winning!