MELBOURNE, February 1- Andy Murray failed to overcome Roger Federer and win Britain's first men's Grand Slam title in 74 years, but he earned the applause of the Australian media Monday for his fight against the Swiss master.
Amid soaring expectations from the British public, Murray lost Sunday’s final in straight sets but his journey to centre court has revived hopes that Britain can finally end its long drought.
"Given the manner in which Murray fought for his life in an epic third-set tiebreaker — the longest in the tournament’s history — a breakthrough win in a major mightn’t be far away for the 22-year-old," the Daily Telegraph said.
Murray himself said he put up a better fight against the brilliant Federer, who took his 16th Grand Slam title, than in their previous Grand Slam encounter in the final of the 2008 US Open.
"Obviously I’m getting closer," the Scot told a post-match press conference after breaking down in tears during the trophy presentation. "I mean, my results in the Grand Slams would show that."
"So far it’s not been good enough, but I’m sure one day it will be."
The Australian newspaper said while fifth-seeded Murray’s second Grand Slam final ended the same way as his first, he was up against the greatest champion in the sport’s history.
"He should carry no shame about his effort last night, for the greatest player ever is at his peak," it said.
"Indeed, he (Federer) needed to be to claim his 16th Grand Slam, for this was a far tighter final than their previous meeting in New York in 2008 when he dominated Murray."
But with a record number of British journalists covering the tournament, the Sydney Morning Herald focused on the growing pressure Murray faces.
"The next defeat will be his third and if the British press have treated him like a royal during his rise, he’ll surely get the Prince Charles-style treatment if he fails to seize the crown a third time."
For now, Murray said he was not weighed down by pressure from British fans, and instead apologised for not giving them the victory they wanted.
"I didn’t feel it on the court," he told reporters after the match.
"You get a lot of good luck messages and everyone wishing you well from back home and that’s obviously nice. Once you get on the court, it’s not what you’re thinking about at all."