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Murray savours triumph with bottle of Irn-Bru

He will not arrive home until this morning, but after spending the last month on this side of the Atlantic, Andy Murray enjoyed a taste of Scotland here yesterday.

To be precise, when Britain's first male Grand Slam singles champion for 76 years sat down next to the US Open trophy at a reception at the residence of the British consul general just off First Avenue, he enjoyed a taste of Irn-Bru.

Having entered the room to the sound of a bagpiper playing 'Scotland the Brave' and declined the offer of a cucumber sandwich, Murray was presented with a box of British products, including Maltesers, Hula Hoops and wine gums. The first item he went for, however, was the Irn-Bru -- a favourite drink back home in Scotland.

Murray attended the reception after completing his television commitments on American breakfast shows and doing a photo shoot in Central Park.

It had been a busy last 15 hours. Following his 7-6 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 victory over Novak Djokovic in Monday night's final, the new world No 3 had had barely an hour's sleep.

Having finished his media commitments in the wake of the final the previous night, Murray had joined his entourage at an Asian fusion restaurant for dinner in Manhattan.

"We probably didn't get there until midnight," he said. "Everybody had quite a few drinks -- I didn't -- and then we probably got back to the hotel at about three o'clock. I didn't get to sleep until five and then I was up at 6.30 this morning so I've not had a whole lot of sleep."

Murray has rarely drunk alcohol ever since an occasion as a teenager when he felt ill after having one or two drinks too many.

"I didn't have one drink last night," he said. "The problem was that when I arrived, everyone was so drunk already. It would have taken a while to catch up, so I didn't bother."

The only notable absentee at dinner had been Ivan Lendl, Murray's coach, who has been such a key factor in a glorious summer during which the 25-year-old Scot has reached his first Wimbledon final, won Britain's first tennis Olympic gold medal for 104 years and replaced Fred Perry as the last British man to win a Grand Slam singles title.

"He's so focused when I'm playing the matches," Murray said. "He didn't come out for dinner with us. He just kept telling everyone how dead he was after the match and how tired he was. He just sat there and I was like: 'You weren't the one playing!' But he's been through many, matches like that, so he knows how tough it is."

Lendl normally sits motionless and expressionless, but on Monday night even the 52-year-old eight-times Grand Slam champion was applauding his man through the match.

The Scot admitted that he had felt a little numb in the moments after his victory. "I was in a bit of shock, and after that I was just very relieved," he said.

"I wasn't able to sleep last night (Monday). I wasn't bouncing off the walls or anything. I just couldn't go to sleep. I was sitting awake for a few hours. I don't think it has sunk in yet -- it will probably take while."

RELIEF

After losing in his first four Grand Slam finals and being constantly asked whether he thought he would ever win one, Murray said it would be a relief never to have to answer the question again.

"Since I was 21, it's something that I've been asked most weeks of my life," he said. "It really started to get to me a lot earlier this year. Everywhere I went I got asked the same thing."

Murray said he hoped that achieving his greatest ambition would not change him as a person.

"That was something I spoke to Ivan about at the French Open,"he said. "I worried what might happen if I win a Major or how my life might change if I won it, but Ivan said: 'Don't worry about it. I thought the same thing, but all that happens is you get more people congratulating you, you get to stay in nice hotels and restaurants and the chance to play on all the good golf courses for free'."

Having missed this week's Olympic and Paralympic celebrations in London, Murray said that he would like to take part in a similar event in Glasgow on Friday and also visit family and friends back home, but he added: "I would also like to get a few days to myself just to take everything in and just be normal for a few days before doing any of that."

Among the many messages of congratulations Murray received was one from Rafael Nadal. "He messaged me after the match and just said: 'Enjoy it. I'm happy for you and you deserved it.' When you get congratulations from someone you're competing against -- and he's one of the best players ever -- it means a little bit more." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent