Defeat is no longer devastating for Andy Murray.
In more uncertain times, when he was less sure of his talent, losing to Novak Djokovic in the final of a major would send him into the deepest funk. Not now. He is stronger for the experience, not more vulnerable. No more tears at bedtime.
"There's going to be some obvious reasons for me feeling a little bit better," the Scot said, after failing to find the form he produced in the US Open final four months ago against Djokovic, who overcame an uncertain start to retain his Australian Open title in four sets.
"The last few months have been the best tennis of my life," Murray said. "I made the Wimbledon final, won the Olympics, won the US Open. I was close here as well."
Djokovic won 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 3hr 40min. And while Murray was hampered by a tight hamstring and heavy blisters on his right foot in the last two sets, he refused to use them as an excuse. He was satisfied he had given his best under the circumstances – and that equation took Djokovic's fine play into account.
"I know no one [in the Open era] has ever won a slam immediately after winning their first one," Murray pointed out. "It's not the easiest thing to do. And I got extremely close. So I have to try and look at the positives of the last few months and I think I'm going in the right direction.
"This is the first time I've beaten Roger [Federer] in a slam over five sets [in the semi-finals]. I think I dealt with the situations and the ebbs and flows in that match well. I felt much more comfortable on the court today than even I did at the US Open, so that has to be a positive.
"Before the US Open [final] I was unbelievably nervous and was doubting myself a lot. I didn't go on the court today having those doubts. I felt pretty calm from the beginning of the match. I was obviously still nervous but I felt more at home in a match like that on a court like that, playing for a grand slam title."
This, clearly, is where Murray belongs. Djokovic views the future with similar confidence, although he says there are always traps on the way to finals. "It is logical in a way to expect the top four players to be the main contenders to win the [major] trophies," Djokovic said. "But I never want to underestimate the rest of the field, the rest of the players, especially the ones in the top 10, the top 15.
"I was a few points away from losing the match against [world No15 Stanislas] Wawrinka in the fourth round here. That says enough about the competitiveness of the sport and the quality that other players bring. So it is possible for them to make a breakthrough."
However, the evidence suggests that, for the foreseeable future, Djokovic and Murray, with Federer still dangerous and Rafael Nadal lurking, will keep these celebrations to themselves.
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