I don’t think anybody should be shocked either by the fact that Andy Murray is struggling to make the next big leap or that he’s unable to hide his frustration at not doing so.
Getting into the top 32 in the world and regaularly beating players already there was always going to be the hardest part of his comeback.
And when he’s just frittered away a 5-2 lead in the deciding set of a match against a guy ranked 13 in Paris, I’d absolutely expect him to say he’s not enjoying his tennis at the moment.
For all that he’ll be realistic about his limits with a metal hip at the age of 36, you can’t turn off the part of him that is used to putting away these guys.
After suffering an opening-round defeat in Paris, Andy Murray is looking to reignite his love for tennis ❤️🔥 pic.twitter.com/8nfm2SyuXZ
— Eurosport (@eurosport) October 31, 2023
So, in terms of retirement, I’d describe this a mini alarm bell, rather than a full-on one.
He’s got enough to motivate him with the Davis Cup coming up soon.
And it’s not as if he’s struggling to compete with the top players.
You can see a way in which he can turn these tight defeats into consistent wins.
For plenty of athletes, they get a moment that you can’t really explain when they just know enough is enough.
Who knows, that may well be the case for Andy over the next couple of months.
But I’ve got a feeling it will be one more summer and then retirement.
With another Olympics on the horizon, I’d imagine that will drive him on if he thinks his game isn’t going backwards.
He’s got two golds and a silver already and loves the Team GB environment.
And it will be eating away at him that he couldn’t get the job done in his last big five-setter at Wimbledon.
We’ll probably see a few more rackets smashed but one more big winter of getting himself right could well be worth the effort.
The men’s Scotland rugby team had a tough time of it at the World Cup.
It would be hard to dress-up two comprehensive defeats and a group exit as anything other than a step back.
For the women though, it looks like a significant step forward has been taken.
In South Africa, away from the full glare of publicity over here, they’ve put together six wins in a row and finished top of a new international tournament for tier two nations.
Captain Rachel Malcolm on Scotland winning the inaugural WXV2, while Fraser Brown and Chris Paterson give their thoughts on the World Cup and the opening weeks of the URC… 🏉
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) November 1, 2023
I share the same management company as Scotland captain, Rachel Malcolm, and it was great to catch up with her for a coffee and hear about their success the other day.
You can’t underestimate how important it is to get used to winning.
They’d lost a lot of matches and that’s the sort of rut that becomes incredibly hard to get out of.
By getting their hands on a trophy, it changes the mindset of a group.
That’s what should happen for these players, who now have a base to attack the Six Nations.
It’s a different type of pressure when games are being played in Britain but Scotland will be in a much better place to embrace that.