Does Murraymania mean Andy Murray will never win Wimbledon?
Each year, as Andy Murray progresses through the early rounds of Wimbledon, the nation experiences Murraymania. But could that weight of expectation be making it less likely that he will ever win the title?
Chartered psychologist Dr Barry Cripps thinks the pressures are huge:
“Pressures on international athletes competing in highly prestigious events like Wimbledon are enormous. Not only do the players, who have already achieved a great deal to get through to the last two weeks, experience the pressures put on them by close support groups, they also have to endure spectator and media pressure.
“This pressure is felt even more by British players, like Andy Murray and Tim Henman who progress in the tournament. ‘Not since Fred Perry…’ and all that stuff.”
As the father of a daughter who has represented Britain at archery and a sport and exercise psychologist, Dr Cripps is interested in the nature of the relationship between an athlete and his or her close support group of parents, coaches and psychologists.
“I often ask myself,” he says, “whether this group is working effectively to help the athlete achieve their goals or whether the interaction with these significant others is in fact getting in the way. How difficult is it for the athlete to manage the expectations of all these people?”
When a British player does well at Wimbledon, in a way the whole nation joins the support group. So Dr Cripps’ advice to tennis fans who want to see Murray lift the men’s singles title is:
“Stay cool. Instead of shrieking and screaming on the hill, eat strawberries, drink your Pimms and applaud politely.”