That phrase was coined in the early 20th century after fairground stalls in the US gave out cigars as prizes. Tonight the prize was a place in the Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray came close, very close to winning, but just as it seemed Murray had finally stepped up the remarkable Djokovic pushed him over once again.
Andy Murray pushed Novak Djokovic to the limit of his powers but ultimately lost in five sets 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5 in four hours 50 minutes.
On losing tonight Murray picks up a new record, perhaps one he might not want, becoming the first man in the Open era to lose 4 successive Grand Slam semi-finals.
Most will say that he can take heart from one of the best performances of his career so far and coach Ivan Lendl having a huge part to do with it. I do hope they are right as it’s certainly not his best performance, moments of the match were outstanding from the Scot and the more aggressive approach paid off. Major areas of weakness still remain.
Whilst most commentators and tennis media will laud Murray’s excellent tennis brain and then point to his fragile mind. It is in fact his fragile tennis brain that lets him down so often. Really basic errors are made by Murray in every match, he needs to start recognising the games that are important.
His major mistake of the night came after winning the third set tie break. All the momentum is with the Scot, but at the end of the set rather than looking to hammer home his advantage immediately, he chooses to go for a bathroom break and in turn plays the worst set of his week, the first point of that 4th set was crucial and he didn’t recognize that.
The Lendl Murray partnership will work, there is no doubt about that and Murray must now build on his positive play and learn from his mistakes. The French Open next.