LONDON, Jan 31, 2011 (AFP) - The British press Monday doubted whether their number one tennis hope Andy Murray would ever win a major title after the Scot lost the Australian Open final against Serbia's Novak Djokovic.
The nation was hopeful going into Sunday's final that Murray could become the first British man to win a grand-slam title in 75 years but the 23-year-old was blown away in straight sets by the in-form Djokovic.
"When he needed to keep his nerve on the biggest stage of all, he was once again overcome by stage fright," the popular Sun tabloid said.
"As he cursed and fretted, he sent out a clear message to everyone in the crowd: 'I'll never win this one'."
Murray has now lost three major finals, failing to muster a set in any.
"He is not very good at playing grand-slam finals," The Times' chief sports writer, Simon Barnes, concluded.
"Tennis is about raising your game for the biggest moments, the biggest opponents, the biggest matches. So far, Murray has shown us that he plays worse. He sinks to the great occasion.
"It is tempting to draw all kinds of depressing conclusions from this."
The Telegraph broadsheet bemoaned the Scot's unusual lack of spirit.
"There was no passion in his performance, no sense of belief," it said.
"Even when he did make a rare play...he did not bother with a fist-pump or one of his patented primeval roars.
"Instead he just trudged back into his service position, staring at the floor as if he wanted to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible."
On a more constructive note, the Guardian advised the world number five to contemplate changing his support staff.
"Coaches are clearly a problem for Murray," the paper claimed.
"The world is full of tennis coaches, and somewhere out there must be one capable of providing the combination of discipline and encouragement necessary to focus the unruly instincts that undid Murray once again today."