ANDY Murray’s former coaches, friends and fans cheered on as the Scots tennis star came within touching distance of winning his first major tournament.
A noisy crowd of around 100 supporters crammed into an Edinburgh bar to watch as the 21-year-old crashed out of the first grand slam title match of his career after losing to Roger Federer in a three-set thriller at the US Open Final.
But for former coaches, training partners and supporters at Murray’s childhood tennis home there was still room for celebration as the Dunblane man enjoys the height of his game so far.
Ellinore Lightbody, national coach for governing body Tennis Scotland based at Craiglockhart and former coach to Andy, said Murray played the game of his life despite the result.
And Ellinore, who works hand-in-hand with Andy’s mum Judy as talent and performance manager, backed Murray for future success.
She said: “Andy’s going to be bitterly disappointed with the result but he has so much to be proud of tonight.
“He’s only 21 years old and he’s played against the best in the world.
“He was going out to win tonight and put everything into every single point. His day will come, it’s only a matter of time now.”
And former tennis peers of Andy weren’t put off by the disappointing result in New York.
Mhairi Brown, 26, who shared the training courts with Andy as a junior, cheered as Murray battled Federer in the two-hour match.
Mhairi – performance coach for Tennis Scotland – said it was always clear that Andy was destined for super stardom on the tennis courts.
She said: “It was pretty obvious early on that he would be a winner because he just had so much amazing natural talent but to see him in the final of a major tournament like this is crazy.
“Andy’s achievement in being up there with the best in the world is absolutely phenomenal.
“He was always very competitive, no matter what he was doing, if it was playing cards or messing around playing football you could see the winners’ edge in him.
“Everyone thinks Nadal is invincible but look what Andy was able to do there. He’s riding high on confidence at the minute and it’s clear to see in his game.”
And Mhairi – who is also a colleague of Andy’s mum Judy – said his performance against US Open champion Federer was inspirational.
She said: “It’s brilliant for the younger players coming up through the stages at Craiglockhart. Andy really is a hero to them and they look up to him.
“Some of the older ones have met him on the tennis courts and it gives them so much belief to see Andy up there on top form.
“Win or lose, tonight was always going to be important for tennis in Scotland because he’s done so brilliantly.”
The atmosphere in the Centre Court bar on the city’s Colinton Road turned tense as the Scot trailed the first set after just 26 minutes.
But as he began to pick up crucial points in the second set there were screams of “superb” and “come on Andy” as he battled to return Federer’s power shots.
Some fans – with champagne on ice – sat with their fingers crossed as Andy broke Federer’s serve and they spurred him on with shouts of “that’s more like it”.
But as Federer thrashed home the second championship point of the game the crowd sat silent looking on in disbelief.
But fans insisted there was much to be proud of as Andy narrowly missed out on becoming the first British man to win a grand slam since Fred Perry secured the title at the 1936 US Open.
Olly Robertson, 27, placed a £5 bet on Murray taking home the title.
He said: “Apart from losing some money on the game, I’m still pretty happy with the way he played. He definitely did us proud.
“He’s so patriotic and that’s why we love him.”