It’s the third set of the Murray-Gasquet encounter on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Gasquet, outplaying Murray, needs to hold his serve to win, in straight sets.
But, with the odds against him, Murray digs deep, and draws on the powerful well of support from the Centre Court crowd. In the games critical turning point, he breaks the Frenchman’s serve. And his spirit.
For with the crowd against him, the brilliance drains out of Gasquet. He proceeds to lose a match, that was in his grasp. This is a defeat, that will haunt him for some time.
It was as if the Wimbledon crowd got to Gasquet. That he couldn’t quite understand why, they were so partisan in their feelings. As if a sense of injustice was being perpetrated. He was being victimised. And it made no sense to him.
And he allowed it to get inside his mind. To distract him from his flow. To burst his bubble of brilliance.
It takes a special mental strength, to withstand a partisan and biased home crowd. To go inside yourself, and create your own world of sound and imagery. To evoke feelings of calm and relaxation, as a storm brews on the outside. It takes preparation and practise.
Perhaps Richard Gasquet wasn’t quite prepared, for what was about to happen to him at Wimbledon today. Hadn’t thought through, all the potential match scenarios, and how he would deal with them. Hadn’t created a sanctuary within himself, that he could go to, when the going got tough.
But the pain of defeat today, affords the Frenchman, a chance to learn and develop. To add mental strength, to his undoubted tennis ability. To remember his Wimbledon Monday evening test, as a turning point in his career. It can be a catalyst to better things. If he chooses to see it that way.