So now we know that not even a knock-up with David Cameron in the drawing room of No.10 could inspire Andy Murray to the ultimate victory. More seriously, the dominant conclusion to emerge from his defeat in Melbourne was that if he is ever going to win a Grand Slam tournament, he will probably need better help than he is getting.
To put it harshly, Murray gave less reason for optimism in defeat against Novak Djokovic than he did exactly 12 months ago, while losing the final of the 2010 Australian Open to Roger Federer.
Confronting the Swiss, he gave himself a glimpse of victory when he broke serve in the second set to go 4-2 up, capturing the break point with the shot of a lifetime.
There were no such golden visions on Sunday, just a hard, sweaty struggle to retain a semblance of self-respect against an opponent manifestly superior on the day.
The careers of Murray and Djokovic, born a week apart in 1987, have run on parallel lines since they first encountered each other on a tennis court at the age of 13.
The Serb, however, has proved more adept at turning talent and promise into achievement.
Two years ago, when Djokovic was winning his first Grand Slam tournament in Australia, it could be suggested that some players mature faster than others. Now, however, they are both 23-years-old in a young man's sport, and no further excuses can be made.
Today Djokovic surmounted an even more daunting hurdle, which is to win again.
After winning in 2008, he fell back. But he has worked hard to strengthen his game, and his single-minded demolition of Federer on Thursday showed that he is worthy of his place among the world's top three.
Before the final, Djokovic had enjoyed the advantage of an extra 24 hours' rest, thanks to a flaw in the Australian tournament's structure, and Murray was certainly looking frayed as the match went into its third set.
However, these competitors know the conditions, and they have nothing to do but prepare for them. And although Murray had to work hard to get the better of David Ferrer in a four-set semifinal, Djokovic's task at the same stage was to eliminate the great Federer.
An even bleaker light is cast on Murray's failure by the statistical nature of the defeat: his three Grand Slam finals have all been surrendered in straight sets. Against Federer at Flushing Meadow in 2008, the score was 6-2, 7-5, 6-2.
In Melbourne against the same opponent last year it was 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. By comparison, today's 6-4 6-2 6-3 hardly suggests a man moving inexorably towards a rendezvous with destiny.
Like Tim Henman, the man from Dunblane has done wonderfully well to emerge from the slough of despond that is British professional tennis. In both cases, their success was achieved through bypassing a sclerotic system. Unlike the worthy but limited Henman, however, Murray has the talent to prevail at the very top. What he needs is the tactical preparation and the mental strengthening necessary to take the final step – and then not to be content with one victory but to go on and win again, as Djokovic has just done.
Coaches are clearly a problem for Murray. Since turning professional in 2005, he has worked with Pato Alvarez, Mark Petchey, Brad Gilbert, Miles Maclagan and Alex Corretja. The Spaniard, who had coached Murray during the clay-court season in 2008, replaced Maclagan last summer, on the understanding that there would eventually be a permanent replacement, but not before Australia this month.
This left Murray in the care of his mother, Judy, who leads the rest of a team comprising his friend and hitting partner Dani Vallverdu, his physio Andy Ireland and fitness trainer Jez Green. A second regular fitness trainer, Matt Little, was not around.
Murray does not enjoy travelling with just a professional coach. He has said that he prefers the company of people of his own age, with whom he can relax. But as his battle to stay in Sunday's match reached its anticlimax in the third set, what use were they in hard, practical, professional terms? None of them could affect his inability to put more than 53 per cent of his first serves into play, against Djokovic's 67 per cent: a fatal handicap.
As his play grew more erratic, he cursed himself with increasing vehemence. At a crucial point in a match that was there to be saved, such passionate self-laceration represented a terribly debilitating waste of mental energy.
On the point of losing his third Grand Slam final, he should have been concentrating his attention not on the disappointment of the last point but on the possibility of the next, and on what he could do about it.
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. If necessary, they could take breakfast in separate rooms.— © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2011