Andy Murray finally put to bed talk of Fred Perry and 1936 as he became the first British man to win the Wimbledon title in 77 years by defeating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a grueling battle that belied its straight-sets scoreline. On a brutally hot day on Centre Court, Murray prevailed after a physically draining three hours and nine minutes, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.
It completes a remarkable year for Murray since losing in the final at the All England Club 12 months ago. Under the tutelage of Ivan Lendl, who won every Grand Slam apart from Wimbledon in his gloried playing career, the Scot won Olympic Gold back at SW19 before finally lifting his maiden Grand Slam at the US Open. His new found mental strength that Lendl and those performances have given him were in full evidence on Sunday as he played at a consistently high level throughout to avenge his loss in the Australian Open final this year and etch his name forever in British folklore.
Murray utilized his full array of shots and showed greater versatility to compliment the uniqueness of the grass-court surface. Crucially the 26-year-old was also able to win a much higher percentage of first serve points than his opponent. Djokovic, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, will doubtless be disappointed, however, that he was unable to take greater advantage of Murray's often tame second serves.
Murray, who had lost his first four Grand Slam finals, started as a man on a determined mission and earned a series of break points in Djokovic’s two opening service games. In the past the disappointment would have agitated Murray, but not this time. Murray grabbed his seventh break point to take the initiative. The pair would then exchange breaks before Murray crucially saved three break points at 4-3 before going onto clinch the opening set.
Yet, the Serbian has repeatedly displayed his fighting qualities, not least in the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history against Juan Martin del Potro just two days earlier, and he did so again in the second set. With Djokovic’s flatter groundstrokes pushing Murray back and forth across the back of the court, he looked on the verge of taking control when he held a 4-1 lead in the second set. As in the third set, though, he couldn't capitalize on that edge and Murray would come roaring back. After Murray got back on level terms at 5-5, Djokovic went to challenge a ball that landed on his baseline only to find that he was out of challenges and subsequently berated umpire Mohamed Lahyani. It would prove a crucial moment, with Murray going onto break and then serving out to love for a two sets lead.
At that point it looked like Djokovic was on the edge both physically and mentally of fading quietly away. Again, though, he would not go down easily, rallying from dropping his opening service game in the third set to go a break in front. Suddenly it was Murray looking physically vulnerable as his incredible motoring around the court began to take its toll and Djokovic tested his tiring legs with a succession of drop shots.
Instead Murray stepped up his aggression and uncharacteristic errors again crept into Djokovic’s game. Murray broke twice in succession to leave him serving for the match. With the whole of Britain seemingly unable to contain both its excitement and its nerves, the tension only increased as three match points slipped by from 40-0. This time he would not be denied. Murray saved break points before on his fourth championship point fulfilling his destiny with a Djokovic backhand into the net.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.