As Andy Murray prepares to bow out we should shed a tear for one of our all-time greats

I’m sure I’m not the only one who shed a tear along with the best male tennis player Britain has ever produced.

All of those who have accused him over the years of being an unfeeling robot during his career had a glimpse of the real man during that press conference.

Andy was totally distraught and searingly honest about the physical pain he has been going through, and about the fact that he will be forced to leave the sport he loves before he is ready to call it a day.

He is gearing himself up for what is almost certainly going to be one last effort at the Australian Open on Monday.

But his ongoing serious hip injury realistically means that this is the end of the road, and you can tell just how much that is hurting him emotionally as well as physically.

He’s lived with excruciating pain for more than 20 months and has bravely struggled on in the hope of overcoming the damage and getting back on form.

Despite his best efforts — and he is a stubborn man who hates being beaten, especially when it is his own body that he is ­fighting against — there comes a time when even someone like Andy has to admit defeat.

He is clearly passionate about his sport.

He is also funny, endearing and has been a terrific ambassador for British tennis.

He isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself and has appeared in many comedy shows playing up to his stereotypical grumpy persona.

On the other hand, on court he is completely focused and a true professional, and you will seldom see him clowning around during a match. In interviews he gives questions a great deal of thought and is very rarely flippant or light- hearted.

This all gave him an undeserved reputation as a “dour Scot”, a very lazy slur on a man who, alongside his mum and brother, stopped British tennis from being regarded as a laughing stock.

Before Andy, we were always the “plucky Brits” who rarely managed to get through to the latter stages of any competition.

It was never easy watching Andy play and he put us through the emotional wringer, but none of us will ever forget his 2013 victory at Wimbledon and his reaction to that fantastic achievement.

It was truly joyful and the whole nation shared in his triumph.

I think that’s when everyone fell a little in love with him, and realised what a treasure they’d had under their noses all this time.

No one can take that away from him, and the haul of medals, trophies and honours would have been even more impressive if he hadn’t been unlucky enough to have been on the circuit around the same time as legends Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Although he may be retiring, Andy is fortunate to have a happy private life with wife Kim and their two daughters Sophia and Edie.

He has made more than enough money and will be in demand as an expert commentator — and that’s when we will see his true personality shine through.

If this were a movie, Andy would go out on a high with another Wimbledon win this summer, but sadly this is real life and the chances of him even making the starting line are remote.

I know he will be inconsolable right now, but I hope that our appreciation and good wishes will help just a little bit.

He will always be one of the all-time greats of British sport.

Jen’s spectacular

I KNOW it’s her job but bloody hell, Jennifer Lopez looks spectacular in her latest photoshoot for Harper’s Bazaar.

She has legs up to her armpits, a fantastic cleavage and an expression that says: “Don’t even think about messing with me.”

I’m sure she’ll be just thrilled to know that at 49 years old she just about squeaks into the category of women that French author Yann Moix would consider going out with.

This utter clown, who looks like a badly ageing David Miliband, claims women over 50 are essentially unfanciable – thus consigning the likes of Sandra Bullock, Kylie Minogue and Cindy Crawford to the scrapheap.

Every one of them – most of all the sublime J-Lo – would eat him alive.

ORVILLE YOUR BOOTS

This is a hilarious  sci-fi series from Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad) that captures all the joy and wonder, as well as the slightly camp humour, of my beloved Star Trek from the 1960s with Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

The second season launched this week and I would urge all fellow geeks to check it out on Sky and Fox TV.

Bryan's 'crime' is a farce

I’M  baffled at the amount of negativity being aimed at Bryan Cranston, who has committed the apparently unpardonable sin of being very good in his latest movie.

Bryan is one of the finest actors of his generation who stunned us all in Breaking Bad and makes everything he appears in 100 per cent better just by turning up.

His latest role, however, has seen him get the sort of backlash reserved for criminals and dodgy politicians.

He plays a quadriplegic businessman in The Upside alongside comedian Kevin Hart as his carer.

You might have thought the spotlight would have been shining on Kevin, who opted out of hosting next month’s Oscars after homophobic early tweets were unearthed.

Instead, the focus has been firmly on Bryan.

His crime is that he’s an able-bodied man who isn’t almost completely paralysed like the character he plays in the movie, which is based on a true  story.

This has resulted in calls to cast only disabled actors in roles where the character has a disability.

Now, I have no idea whether anyone else, disabled or not, was considered for this role.

But I would imagine producers and the money-men chose Bryan for his acting ability and box-office appeal.

I   completely understand the frustration of disabled actors and actresses who aren’t competing on a level playing field.

There are far too few roles available in any case, and a dearth of disabled actors in TV and film, with the notable exception of the always excellent Liz Carr in Silent Witness.

Bryan Cranston is nobody’s fool.

He is a highly intelligent man and he took on the role knowing there would be controversy.

He also used it to highlight the lack of jobs for disabled actors.

I firmly believe it should always be down to whoever is best for the job and who will give a completely honest, believable performance.

At least The Upside has got people talking, and surely that can only be a positive way forward.

GALAXY CALLING

I imagine if experts manage to decipher these messages, they would consist of irritated aliens sending out an SOS telling pundits to stop yakking on about Brexit as it’s boring  them to tears.

Face/Off John's hair off

JOHN TRAVOLTA is to be applauded for finally embracing his lack of hair.

For years the Face/Off actor has  glued on a number of increasingly unrealistic wigs in a vain attempt to fool us all that he isn’t as bald as a coot.

When will men realise that wigs, comb-overs and that laughably elaborate Donald Trump Shredded-Wheat creation look odd?

A balding man who faces up to the inevitable and gets it all shaved off is far more desirable than one whose fake hair looks  like a pedal bin whenever there’s a light breeze.

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