I have a photo on the wall at home, at the bottom of the stairs. I stop to stare at it occasionally and the miracle never leaves me completely.
It is a picture of Center Court at Wimbledon. It shows the digital clock on the scoreboard with 5.24 in the afternoon. The length of the match, which has just ended, is recorded as 3.10.
Everywhere people stand and applaud. Many have both raised their hands high above their heads. Some take photos with their mobile phone. Some look at each other in delighted astonishment. Two linesmen with their legs wide apart at the back of the playing field, still in competition mode, as if frozen by the size of what just happened.
Two-time winner Andy Murray celebrating the victory at Wimbledon by kissing the trophy in 2016
I see myself in the photo, in the press box. In the past 30 years I have been at a few big events with different sports in different places around the world, but this moment frozen by the photo on July 7, 2013 is the biggest sporting moment I've ever seen.
In the beginning, when Novak Djokovic had hit the last shot of the game in the net, his conqueror had turned to the press box and shook his fist triumphantly. The photo captures the scene a few seconds later. In the foreground is a man on his knees on the other side of the net, his head in his hands, his face pressed against the grass. The man is of course Andy Murray.
For that moment and much more, the first emotion that many of us feel when we think of Murray, who last week in Melbourne signaled that his career is coming to an end, is gratitude.
Murray indicated that his career ended last week at a press conference
It was a privilege to see him play, but more than that, it was a privilege to be in his job. Never meet your heroes, they say, but that was never an adage that had to be applied to Murray.
Sometimes, in a modern sports landscape complicated by accusations of drug use or diving or infidelity or betting or bullying, we are afraid to hold someone against the light of flattery in case we see what is hidden under the veneer. It has never been like that with Murray.
Murray has always stood for decency in the sport. Some people laugh at the camera and sniff at it. They are fake. Murray is not fake. He is not capable of being fake. The personification of self-mockery, the opposite of flash, he has always been a man to admire, on and off court.
His dry mind puzzled fools in his youth and led some boring dolphins to say that he was boring, but his willingness to stand up for what he believed in, whether it was Scottish independence, equality between men and women or drug-free sport was, distinguished him from the studied faintness that embraced so many sports stars.
De Schot is overwhelmed by emotion after winning Wimbledon for the first time in July 2013
De Schot, who is forced to quit at the age of 31, has changed our sporting topography and has updated one of our most revered institutions. Until Murray joined, Wimbledon was a place where generations of the British would look at themselves in parody.
The strawberries and cream, the chirping of the crowd, the Robinsons Barley Water, the Royal Box, the horns and the soldiers at the entrances to the gangway were all escapist echoes of our past, protected from the wider world in a enclave that our version of Augusta is National.
We were not there to win it. That was a ridiculous thought. Winning was for Americans, Sweden and the Swiss. Or a Swiss. Patriotism ended on the middle Saturday and then we leaned back and looked at John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker and Pete Sampras in court.
Even when Tim Henman came by, and although he is still a hugely underestimated player whose effect on the British game is too often ignored, nobody really believed that he would ever be the first British man to win the tournament since Fred Perry in 1936. as Roger Taylor before him, we always knew he was destined to fall short.
Murray has changed all that. He changed the idea that tennis in the UK was for chic boys and dilettants. He was the antithesis of the stereotype of the tennis club of Toby and Amanda. If there was one thing more unlikely than an Englishman who won Wimbledon, it was a Scot winning Wimbledon.
Murray changed the idea that tennis in the UK was for only chic boys and dilettants
Murray was an outsider who did not fit the concept of the Lawn Tennis Association of what a world-beater would look like. Not that he was interested in conforming to any template formulated by the governing body of the game in the United Kingdom. He and his family blamed the LTA for damaging the career of his older brother, Jamie.
So he did it all alone. All alone, he transformed our view of one of our most popular sports. Until Murray, Great Britain plus tennis failed. At least before the Second World War. That's not how we think anymore. We think that if Murray can overturn such improbable odds, others can.
We think that if Murray could win three Grand Slam titles in the era of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Djokovic, he would be an example for everyone who sets limits on what they can achieve. He won those titles because of his ability, yes, but also because of his dedication, his dedication, his stubbornness and the power of his will.
& # 39; When you're looking for examples, & # 39; empty the bucket to be as good as possible & # 39 ;, & # 39; said Darren Cahill, the respected former Australian player and coach, & # 39; there should be a photo of Andy Murray that is under that quote. Remarkable discipline for training, competition, sacrifice, perfection … a legend of a guy. Bravo Andy. & # 39;
Until Murray, Great Britain plus tennis failed – we do not think so anymore
Like all the best sportsmen and women, the boundaries of Murray's greatness are beyond sport. As a survivor of the horrors of mass shooting at Dunblane Primary School, he has lived his life as if determined to cherish every moment of it and to exhaust every last drop of excellence.
His greatest moments came at Flushing Meadows, the All England Club, an exhibition space on the outskirts of Ghent, where he led Great Britain to victory in the Davis Cup and an arena in the Olympic Park south of Rio de Janeiro where he was second won gold medal at the 2016 Games.
His greatest performance is different. He has brought joy to a community that has suffered badly, helped to rebuild our faith in sport, while so many have been found to have clay feet, he devoted himself to being the best he could be and, by his principles, humor and modesty he remained true to himself.
I still do not see what it is all about after Marcelo Bielsa has sent someone to spy on Derby
OK, so Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa who sent someone to spy on Derby's training session was not exactly the embodiment of the Corinthian spirit, but I still do not quite understand what it's all about.
If you see someone hanging around your training ground who is not wanted, throw them away. Or build a larger fence. Problem solved.
The idea that Manchester City did not respect Burton Albion by refusing to compete against them on their way to their 9-0 Carabao Cup semi-final in the first stage is laughable.
City showed them the greatest respect by refusing to let themselves be relieved. Only if City had pity, could the side of Nigel Clough be humiliated. Both teams gave everything to the end, which meant Burton kept their dignity.
A documentary follows Alex Honnold while he walks El Capitan without rope into Yosemite
There is a moment in the amazing documentary Free Solo, which I visited last week, where climber Tommy Caldwell describes the scope of the task facing Alex Honnold while he prepares to become the first person to scale the 3,000-foot cliff. from El Capitan in Yosemite without ropes.
& # 39; Imagine an Olympic gold medal-level athletic achievement if you do not get that gold medal, you're going to die, & # 39; says Caldwell.
Sports climbing will be an Olympic event next year in Tokyo and if it is not entirely in line with the drama of Free Solo, the price of failure is not so extreme at least.