Jamie Murray's quest to achieve British tennis history ended in disappointment at the Australian Open after he lost his mixed doubles final alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Victory against Barbora Krejcikova and Nikola Mektic in Melbourne would have seen Murray become Britain’s most successful Grand Slam player of the Open era with an eighth title.
The 33-year-old currently shares the record with Virginia Wade but looked on course to hold it outright after beating No.1 seeds Barbora Strycova and Marcelo Melo in the first round and then making it all the way to the final.
But fifth seeds Krejcikova and Mektic fought back from losing the first set to Murray and his American partner to triumph 5-7 6-4 10-1 in a rollercoaster, topsy-turvy match.
The Croatian-Czech pairing enjoyed a strong start as they raced into a 5-3 lead, breaking the Scot in the opening game before Mektic had a chance to serve for the set.
However, a double fault on the deciding point handed Murray and Mattek-Sands a reprieve, allowing them to break back before taking the first set 7-5.
The second set was tightly contested until Krejcikova and Mektic made the breakthrough in the sixth game, breaking serve twice and never looking back to take it 6-4.
And with the momentum now in their favour, Krejcikova and Mektic ran away with the super tie-break as the former retained the title she won with Rajeev Ram in 2019.
Despite the disappointment, Murray vowed to come back stronger as he took the positives out of another successful week alongside Mattek-Sands.
“The first time Beth’s been lost for words,” said Murray, speaking after the game. “We fought as hard as we can but came up short, so congrats on a Grand Slam title.
“It was a good, fun atmosphere to play. Beth, thanks for being a great partner, we have had a lot of success but more importantly a lot of fun. We'll try and come back next year and get a win.”
Murray currently has two men’s doubles titles, from the Australian Open and US Open in 2016, and five mixed doubles titles – but an eighth Grand Slam title will have to wait for another day.