It was an unpredictable Wimbledon, but after winning the 2013 final, there is no doubt that Andy Murray is the best men's tennis player in the world.
Murray beat Novak Djokovic in three sets by a score of 6-4, 7-5, 6-4:
With Roger Federer seemingly losing his magic touch of late, and with Rafael Nadal only invincible on clay, Murray—with tremendous skill and his incomparable ability to come from behind—has established himself as the player to beat on the men's circuit.
Conquering Wimbledon is spectacular, but his defining moment in the tournament might have come against Fernando Verdasco, when Murray came back from two sets down to win.
What makes Murray so great is not his ability to dominate—which he is certainly capable of—but his ability to grit out wins. He knows how to battle and keep his foot on the gas, like he did in the final against Djokovic, and he knows how to get the job done.
Murray is able to cover a tremendous amount of ground, so he is never out of points.
As Britain's golden boy, Murray had a tremendous amount of pressure on him heading into the final. A British player last won at Wimbledon in 1936, when Fred Perry beat Gottfried von Cramm.
But Murray was able to hold off the pressure to win. He won at the London Olympics, then he did it once again in 2013.
Djokovic pushed him to the limit:
Novak Djokovic has saved three Championship points in the #Wimbledonfinal— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 7, 2013
Murray was running all over the court, and in the last set he handled shots that were seemingly out of reach. At the end of the match, he was exhausted, both physically ad mentally, perhaps more relieved than ecstatic at winning.
But being the best requires that Herculean effort. It may not always come so easily, like it once did for Roger Federer; and Murray may not dominate on a single surface, like Rafael Nadal.
No, Murray does it through grit and guile, through speed and fitness and through an undeniable ability to come from behind.
Will Murray win the U.S. Open?
There is no tennis player who can be pushed to the limit like Murray so often is and still come out on the winning side.
There's more to come for Murray. He still needs to win the French Open and Australian Open. He still needs to sustain it past this year.
But there is no men's tennis player playing better than Andy Murray right now. Djokovic has been terrific, and Nadal's dominance on clay continues on. Overall, though, Murray is leading the way.
It's not flashy. It's not perfect. But it works.
This has been the most elusive title for Murray. Now that he has it, there is no stopping him.