Andy Murray's triumph at the All England Club to win the men's title of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships further cemented his status as one of the world's top men's tennis players, and he'll surely be the favorite to defend his title at the U.S. Open later this summer.
Murray's victory over Novak Djokovic was monumental in more ways than one.
Most notably, it was the first Wimbledon victory by a British man in 77 years, as noted by USA Today:
But even more salient, as it concerns Murray and the rest of the players on the ATP Tour, is the fact that Murray is beginning to look more like the world's best player on the men's side.
His win at Wimbledon was his second Grand Slam title in his last three attempts, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info, and he's reached the men's final in each of his last four Grand Slam appearances:
Andy Murray has now won 2 of the last 3 Grand Slams he's played (2012 US Open, 2013 Wimbledon).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 7, 2013
While Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Djokovic have all taken turns in recent history atop the ATP World Tennis Rankings, Murray has quietly gone about his business to become one of the most feared players in the world.
After years of working in the shadows of the "Big Three," this past year has been Murray's coming out party.
He won an Olympic gold medal at the All England Club in the summer of 2012 over Federer, just weeks after losing to "FedEx" in the men's final at Wimbledon. Then he won the 2012 U.S. Open, reached the final at the 2013 Australian Open and won this year's Wimbledon.
He's always been one of the most tenacious players in the world, and now Murray's skill measures up to the world's best. LTA coach Dan Thorp, via BBC Sport, calls Murray a counter-puncher:
Murray hits his backhand down the line harder and flatter than just about any player on the tour. And when his opponent is expecting to be pulled short and wide with no pace it is pretty much unreturnable.
Murray's big win over Djokovic at Wimbledon proves...
A smart player who can cover ground with the best of them on hard surfaces, Murray has also improved his serve. He scored nine aces against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final and only suffered four aces against him.
Murray's overall game has gradually improved over the course of the past few years, and at the age of 26, he's primed to be one of the top players on tour for years to come.
Murray, who has long lived in the shadow of the world's other top players, is coming into his own and is the man to beat at the 2013 U.S. Open.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78