Mark Lea - Shaun is showing his class

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You can’t expect every sports personality to be the perfect role model.

It must be difficult to always come across in the right way – especially when you are interviewed live on TV immediately after losing a major final.

But the comments of Shaun Murphy, plus those from the post-match press conference, again showed that he is a real ambassador for snooker.

He didn’t make excuses for a disappointing performance at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Murphy paid tribute to Neil Robertson who had beaten him in the Masters and even compared him favourably to world champion John Higgins.

It was accepted the Australian had been a worthy winner and being the runner-up was “no disgrace”.

This was the latest example of Murphy’s maturity and class.

Growing up in Irthlingborough, he would often invite myself and a photographer to record another achievement during his rise towards the professional ranks.

At the time, there was perhaps a feeling that his dad Tony would be pushing him along.

Since then Murphy junior has moved north and become one of the top players in the world.

Four ranking titles and career prize money of around £1.5m – including nearly £200,000 last season – have turned the potential into the promise of more to come.

He rewrote the history books by winning the World Championship in 2005 and followed that up three years later to become only the 10th player to add the UK title.

Unfortunately he couldn’t quite join the elite list of those to have the hat-trick along with the Masters. Well, not yet anyway.

This was the first time Murphy had reached the final and Robertson simply played better on the day.

But the reaction to the defeat showed how to behave in front of the fans, particularly the younger ones who may want to follow in his footsteps.