Andy Murray’s hopes of lifting his first major were thwarted by defeat yesterday in the last 16 of the US Open to Croat, Marin Cilic.

I like Andy Murray. I don’t think he’s a dour individual. I think he’s a very talented tennis player who is focused and determined. I admire the fact he coped with being sent to live in Spain at the age of 15 to improve his tennis.

Occasionally, I have even stalked him by scanning his Twitter stream. Yes, it’s genuine.

I’m not a pathetic ‘Little Englander’ who hates Andy Murray simply because he once said ‘anyone but England’ on radio 5 during the 2006 World Cup. I thought it was a funny response during an amusing exchange of banter with the interviewer, fellow Scot Nicky Campbell, and his English friend, Tim Henman. Each and every one of my Scottish friends would have said precisely the same thing.

Since my own lad started playing junior tennis at a competitive level, my admiration for what Murray has already achieved (No.2 in the world) has increased ten fold. However, the real reason I believe Andy Murray will win a major tennis tournament in the not too distant future stems from an incident a couple of years ago.

I was watching my son play in a junior Surrey tennis competition held at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. I was walking around the 22 courts, admiring the excellent facilities and killing time before he played his first match.

I walked along a balcony overlooking four, immaculate indoor courts. Andy Murray was warming up with his coaching team. They were playing keepy-uppy with a tennis ball and generally messing around. As word got round the complex that Murray was present, a small crowd of aspiring young tennis players and their doting parents gathered to watch.

I was surprised at the sheer number of people in the Murray entourage. After ditching Brad Gilbert, Murray now employs Miles Maclagan (coach), Matt Little (strength and conditioning coach), Jez Green (physical conditioner) and Andy Ireland (physio).

Once the warmup was complete, the laughter stopped and Murray started doing serious tennis drills. He was rallying from the baseline with his coach. I watched in awe as he repeatedly and monotonously hit shots from the baseline low and hard over the net.

Each shot was powerful and landed just within the baseline or even on the line. I soon realised that that’s why tennis players knock up (or ‘hit’) with fellow proferssionals. Most mortals or even decent club players would be incapable of taking part in this drill.

Murray continued his exercises. He didn’t acknowledge the people watching. In fact, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t even aware of our presence. He was solely focussed on hitting that ball.

Another rally started. Murray continue to hit ball after ball low and hard over the net. Occasionally, he’d readjust his position to reach to a shorter or wider shot but he kept on returning the ball. Slowly but surely, the pace of the rally and the variety of shots increased. Now Murray was exerting himself but he kept on hitting balls back like a machine - low and hard, each shot just skimming over the net at great speed.

Finally, the rally came to an end when Murray netted a baseline shot. He shouted ‘Oh - for fuck’s sake. COME ON !’.

Some of the parents assembled on the balcony looked aghast and told Jocasta to shield her ears from such Scottish profanity and gently suggested it was time to get a drink while I just continued to watch on in admiration.