SEEING RED: Lay off our sporting greats and get behind them

So, in the end, Andy Murray succumbed yet again to the machine that is Novak Djokovic in the French Open final at the weekend.

It came as no real surprise despite world number two, Murray, being in the form of his life on clay - after all, Djokovic is arguably the greatest player to have stepped foot on a tennis court.

Losing to him is no disgrace. Murray just happens to be unlucky that he’s playing during a golden era for men’s tennis - a period which has also seen the sport dominated by greats like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

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In any other era, Murray would have easily won more Grand Slams than the two currently to his name.

But this success is not good enough for some in this country.

No, some appear to revel in Murray’s misfortune.

You see, people have long memories and remember the time when proud Scot Murray supposedly said he wanted England to lose a football match.

He didn’t say that at all, he just made a joke about ‘anyone but England’ in answer to a question about who he would be supporting in the 2006 World Cup - but, hey, don’t let the truth get in the way of a ‘story’.

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That’s the levels of pettiness we appear to be at in this country.

It’s so grown up isn’t it?

I saw one comment on social media at the weekend describing Murray as an ‘awful being’. Really? Does that person know Murray personally?

Each to their own, I know, but I just don’t get the hate towards Murray and some other British sporting superstars.

We appear to be a country which takes great delight in mocking our heroes.

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Lewis Hamilton is another who polarises opinion. Some dislike him because of his perceived arrogance - but surely that should be celebrated?

Can you imagine the Germans or French mocking their own for having similar traits?

Can you also imagine the Germans and French toasting their national football teams for losing in the last four of a major tournament on their home soil like we do in this country? See Euro 96.

We live in a country which seems to revel in building people up, only to knock them down when they reach the summit.

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Remember, it wasn’t too long ago when Britain was dubbed a nation of sporting losers after our athletes flopped at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

So, let’s appreciate our stars like Murray and Hamilton while they’re here and being successful.

- Seeing Red is a weekly column which appears in the Mansfield and Ashfield Chad newspapers.