It was Narcissus who looked into the pool and saw a more beautiful version of himself. Gilles Simon, who lost 6-3 6-3 to Andy Murray in the Cincinnati quarter-finals today, must experience something similar every time he sees the Scot across the net.
The French 10th seed, for whom this defeat was the seventh in a row against Murray, plays a similarly hypnotic and complex game. Just not as well. For 75 minutes, the two players conjured up tennis in which no angle was left unexploited, no sleight of hand unexplored and no short forehand punished.
As sorcerer and apprentice gently teed up their shots, you sensed murmurs of appreciation from Bernard Tomic. Somewhere up in the stands, Miloslav Mecir and Fabrice Santoro were probably salivating into their popcorn.
As Murray and the Frenchman attempted to impart eight different types of spin to the ball at once, it seemed that whenever either player put down their wand and picked up a lump hammer, they reaped the rewards.Read more (139 words)
However, some behaviours are far too ingrained, and the Scot and the 12th-ranked Frenchman twisted, grimaced and ground their way through a first set of mesmerising groundshots like two tortured Renaissance philosophers. This was as close as tennis gets to quidditch.
Ultimately, the first set was decided by the quality of Murray's first serve, which met with a welcome success rate of over 70%.
In the second set, the Scot's groundshots became bigger, his dropshots sweeter and his touch play ever more surgical, as the Frenchman's challenge petered out in a welter of Gallic shrugs and miscued dropshots.
This was a useful workout for the world number four, who will nevertheless have to find his A game for the semi-finals, where he'll face either Rafael Nadal or Mardy Fish, both of whom hold a winning record against the Scot.