Magical Murray eyes golden future

British sports fans have a new hero in the shape of 18-year-old Scot Andrew Murray but the Wimbledon hero is still very much a work in progress...

The lanky lad from Dunblane produced the most stunning home performance at the All England club in years late Saturday before his legs gave up on him and he let slip a two sets to love lead to lose 6-7 (4/7), 1-6, 6-0, 6-4, 6-1 to muscular David Nalbandian of Argentina in a third round tie.

That defeat brought to an end an astonishing three-week run that has seen the junior player emerge from the shadows to all but dislodge Tim Henman in the affections of the British public.

And if Henman is seen as past his best, Murray is being touted as the man of the future.

"Murray Minting a Rosy Future," wrote the Sunday Telegraph while the moniker "Braveheart" predictably adorned several newspaper headlines.

Former Centre Court legend Jimmy Connors was left in no doubt that: "The sky is the limit for him", although Connors' old nemesis John McEnroe writing in the Sunday Telegraph warned "It falls too much into the typical British drama of so close and yet so far."

Murray himself sounded more deflated than ecstatic after his tumultous Centre Court debut.

"I'm just very tired. My legs are really, really knackered. I couldn't move towards the end," were his first comments at the obligatory post-match press conference.

And he left it in no doubt that if he is to make it to the top, he needs help from the much-criticised British Lawn Tennis Association and from sponsors.

To date Murray has been coached by his mother Judy and mainly self-financed at a tennis academy in Spain.

For the moment he is assured of at least one convert in the burly shape of fellow Scot and former 007 agent Sean Connery who watched from the Centre Court VIP box engrossed by the drama that unravelled.

The Scottish Sunday Mail reported that Connery become so agitated that the BBC had to apologise for him swearing on live radio after Murray had lost.

Connery joined the chorus of those calling for official support for his young compatriot.

As for Murray, he is due to play in the mixed doubles tournament at Wimbledon and then heads out to the United States to play in the ATP event at Newport.

Showing wisdom beyond his years, Murray knows the hardest part has yet to come.

"I want to play in the big tournaments and I think I proved to myself that I can do it now, but it's not just about doing it for one week of the year," he said.

"It's doing it for 30 weeks of the year!"