It is a bright, crisp morning in Dunblane, and Andy Murray's nan throws open the curtains. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and all seems well with the world. The comforting smell of coal fire wafts through the streets, greeting her from a distance as she looks out on to the tidy flowerbeds of her front garden. She's just about to prepare a delicious breakfast of square sausages, rashers and tatties, when a letter drops through the front door.
She sees that it is addressed in a vicious, scratchy scrawl, and instantly knows it for what it is. It is more hate mail about Andy, sent by an extremely angry fortysomething living in suburban Hertfordshire.
This may sound like an far-fetched scenario but, sadly, it bears some resemblance to reality. Speaking to the Radio Times magazine, Andy Murray's grandparents revealed that they have received several items of hate mail over the past few years, sent by people who – for whatever reason – have a virulent disdain for one of Britain's greatest ever tennis players. Interviewed alongside her husband Roy, 84-year-old Shirley Erskine told the Radio Times: "We've had one or two nasty letters. One about Andy supposedly snarling on court, and another about his accent, saying he sounded American.
"Just comments like that, but they do upset you. Judy would say, 'Put it in the bin, just forget it'. She would tell me that there are always going to be people like that."
Unfortunately, Judy Murray would be right. This country is full of the sort of people who, in their irrational hatred of one of the nation's most talented sportsmen, are willing to hand write a horrible letter, stick a stamp on it, personally walk it up to the postbox and send it to said sportsman's nan. These are the stygian depths of bitterness that we now plumb, the dark and hateful impulses our broken society not only fosters, but practically demands. Humanity is an irredeemable shitshow, and there is no more compelling proof than the hate mail people send to Andy Murray's grandparents.
Imagine the spiritual pettiness required for someone to send a mean letter to a pair of innocent Scottish pensioners, all in the name of criticising their grandson's accent. Imagine the carping, caviling nastiness of it, the solipsistic conceit of such a deed. How miserable, how utterly sad, does your life have to become before you decide to send abusive post to a couple in their mid-eighties? And all because their grandson's accent is a bit too American for your liking? Could they maybe get him elocution lessons for Christmas, or is that too much to fucking ask?
What sort of person sends spiteful letters to Andy Murray's grandparents? If we had to take an educated guess, we'd say a middle-aged man from Letchworth with a receding hairline and a chronic case of erectile dysfunction. The sort of man who goes down the pub, orders a half and proceeds to bore his fellow regulars to death with conversation about how much he resents paying his license fee. The sort of man who polishes his strimmer, and only ever goes on holiday to Bangor, which he hates.
We ask again: what sort of person sends spiteful letters to Andy Murray's grandparents? The sort of man who has an egg avatar on Twitter, and tweets solely to complain about his local Co-op. The sort of man who despises wind farms, and blames the PC Brigade for Jeremy Clarkson's sacking from Top Gear. The sort of man who actually laughs at jokes about Andy Murray's nationality, despite the fact that they are quite literally the most tedious thing on planet earth.
This is the sort of person who sends spiteful letters to Andy Murray's grandparents. This is the sort of person who is ruining Britain, and indeed the world. Our society has become so poisonous, so toxic, that such people are now utterly ubiquitous. There they are, in their garages, writing malicious diatribes to Andy Murray's grandparents. There they are, queuing up at the nation's postboxes, ready to share their bitterness with a pleasant, elderly couple from Dunblane.