Tennis stunned by choke of the year
There isn't a hole anywhere in the world deep enough for Jamie Murray to hide from his mind-blowing choke in Australia's enthralling ATP Cup doubles miracle in Sydney on Thursday.
The Team Great Britain doubles specialist has admitted his staggering unforced error on match point during the wild match tie break against Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios will sting for some time to come.
It will sting a helluva lot more if he ever checks his phone in the next few days.
The brother of Scottish tennis great Andy Murray's awful shank right at the moment he had a chance to put Great Britain through to the semi-finals of the ATP Cup is already being considered a contender for biggest choke of 2020.
With Great Britain enjoying its first match point opportunity at 11-10 in the match tie break - after the first two sets were split 6-3 3-6 - Murray had a soft backhand volley opportunity with a wide open area on the court to aim for straight down the tramlines on the other side of the net.
After a flurry of volleys with Kyrgios at the net, Murray finally had Australia at his mercy, but his volley sailed long by almost a foot.
A few minutes later, Great Britain had been eliminated after surrendering the tiebreak 18-16 in a modern epic that stretched three hours and 23 minutes.
Having lost four match point opportunities (all on serve), Australia struck on its fifth match point opportunity to snatch the tie and move through to a likely semi-final with Spain on Saturday.
Having been so close to victory, Team Great Britain was shattered amid the wild celebrations from Australia and its home fans on Sydney's Ken Rosewall Arena.
Nobody was more shattered than Murray.
"I missed that shot basically on top of the net, which was ridiculous," Murray said later.
"We hung in and we did well. We just couldn't quite get the last point.
"But, yeah, that will hurt. Should have never missed that shot, and I'll probably never miss it again in my career. But today I missed it, and that cost us."
Murray has been a rock for Great Britain through its ATP Cup campaign in Australia - but his entire campaign will now be remembered solely for the cruel moment he butchered his volley at such a critical moment.
KYRGIOS MOCKS STAR FOR EPIC CHOKE
Nick Kyrgios was too elated to care about sparing the feelings of Jamie Murray during the crazy celebrations of Australia's tie-clinching doubles win.
Murray and partner Joe Salisbury had to wait briefly at the net while Kyrgios and de Minaur rolled around in each other's arms on the court in sheer elation - before they quickly hopped back up to their feet to shake hands.
Kyrgios also told it straight when he admitted he "couldn't believe it" when Murray gave Australia another life with his volley blunder.
"When he had a short backhand I thought that was it, I can't believe he missed that, I'm sorry," Kyrgios said.
When asked if he felt sorry for Murray after the miss, the Aussie star replied: "Nah, I'm loving every minute of it".
WORLD REACTS TO ABSOLUTE SITTER
Tennis commentators around the world were even more unforgiving than Nick Kyrgios when trying to explain the Scot's choke on match point.
What a miss by Jamie Murray— @MrEazi Stan account ❤️ (@Bridget_Otoo) January 9, 2020
GB had four match points. Jamie Murray - GB’s best player - will agonise over missed backhand at 11-10 in the tiebreak. Very rough result after Dan Evans heroics but great entertainment and strong team effort.— Mike Dickson (@Mike_Dickson_DM) January 9, 2020
The Daily Mail's Mike Dickson wrote Murray was a broken man after the wild scenes on court began to wind down.
"An ashen-faced Murray was disconsolate afterwards, especially when considering the one clear cut match point opportunity he and Salisbury had," he reported.
"Jamie Murray will rue the way the second of those match points played out."
The Telegraph's Simon Briggs wrote: "A short exchange of volleys with Kyrgios at the net left him with a soft, almost stationary ball to put away. Somehow, he blasted his backhand long.
"Great Britain can nevertheless be proud of their achievements over the last week. Their campaign started as it finished - with a loss in a super tie-break after holding match points. But they fought back so strongly from that agonising defeat against Bulgaria that they ended up topping Group C.
"And then, on Thursday morning, it took a sprinkling of magic from Kyrgios and his doubles partner Alex de Minaur to dump them out."
The Guardian's Kevin Mitchell wrote that Murray's "overcooked" put-away was the obvious moment that will keep Team Great Britain up at night.