Andy Murray at Wimbledon 2013: Britain Finally Has Its Hero
Move over, Prince Charles. There's a successor to the throne.
Andy Murray has done it.
In one of the most emotional scenes in British sports history, Scotland's Andy Murray finally captured the Wimbledon crown.
He did it in style, without dropping a set to the best player in the world, winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 over Novak Djokovic.
That doesn't mean it was a straightforward match, though. Far from it. Nothing is ever straightforward when Murray and Djokovic play. There were 11 breaks of serve, and the three-set match lasted three hours and nine minutes.
The grueling match was played on a hot day (by British standards) with Centre Court, Henman Hill and every pub in Britain packed full of Murray fans absolutely desperate for a victory.
It was all worth it.
For the first time in 77 years, a British man has won Wimbledon. For the first time in 77 years, there are tears of joy instead of tears of heartache for the British public at the end of the fortnight.
On 7/7, the 77-year drought of a British men’s singles champion at #Wimbledon ended – Andy Murray is the 2013 Wimbledon champion— Randy Walker (@TennisPublisher) July 7, 2013
Waiting for this moment has not been easy for anyone. After Fred Perry won in 1936, no British man came close to the title for decades.
Roger Taylor made the semifinals in 1967, 1970 and 1973, but he never reached higher than No. 8 in the rankings and never seemed like a real contender.
Then, from 1996 to 2004, serve-and-volleyer Tim Henman delighted the British crowd and made them believe in miracles as he reached eight quarterfinals and four semifinals in that eight-year stretch. He peaked at No. 4 in the world, and he raised the hopes of a nation countless times, but he never quite had enough to be a champion.
Murray was different. Murray was supposed to be here. Murray was the answer to British prayers.
Still, for years it seemed like he wouldn't deliver. He was born in the wrong era. He didn't have a champion's mentality. He wasn't fit enough to last five sets with Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer. He was good, but perhaps he just wasn't great.
For three straight years he fell in the semifinals, once to Andy Roddick and twice to Nadal. Last year he finally made it all the way to the final but fell to the resurgent Federer.
"I'm getting closer," he cried during his post-match interview last year, as he let his heartbreak show publicly after disappointing them all once again.
Well, he's finally there. He's arrived at the destination.
The past year has been by far the best of Murray's career. He's finally put his entire game together on the biggest stages.
It started when he won the Olympics at Wimbledon last year, proving that he could beat Djokovic and Federer in front of his home crowd. Then he won his maiden Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open, an achievement of epic proportions.
He made it back to the Australian Open final—his third straight major final—in January, and even though he fell short to Djokovic in that match, you could tell by his demeanor that he knew he'd be back in the winner's circle soon.
He was right. On Sunday he won the title he was destined to win—the one his great career would have seemed incomplete without.
After a topsy-turvy three sets, Murray finally held serve on his fourth championship point after a marathon service game against a resilient Djokovic. When the final point ended, he dropped to his knees in complete disbelief.
The crowd rose to their feet in jubilation, finally able to celebrate after all of these years. Murray soaked in the praise, making a lap around Centre Court as he both high-fived his fans and covered his face in disbelief.
Andy Murray: "That last point, I have no idea what happened. I have no idea how long that last game went on for."— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) July 7, 2013
In typical Andy Murray fashion, he asked the tournament official for permission before he climbed up to his box to celebrate. He hugged girlfriend Kim Sears, his mother, Judy Murray, and even his almost-smiling coach, Ivan Lendl.
These were the people who had been with him on all the bad days, who had helped get him through those moments of crippling self-doubt. These were the people who helped mold him into a champion.
As Sue Barker, the 1976 French Open champion and current BBC presenter, introduced him for the trophy presentation, her voice cracked with excitement. There was no need to hide it.
"We've waited 77 years for this," she exclaimed, as the crowd went into a frenzy once more and Andy Murray walked up to grab his trophy.
Finally, the wait is over. Finally, Fred Perry has a successor.
Andy Murray is the 2013 Wimbledon champion.
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