Tuesday 20 February 2018

Peerless Andy Murray claims Wimbledon title

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates Championship point during the Gentlemen's Singles Final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates Championship point during the Gentlemen's Singles Final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Andy Murray of Britain reacts to breaking serve
Victoria Beckham and Tana Ramsey
Ronnie Wood , of the Rolling Stones, sits on Centre Court for the men's singles final tennis match between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic
Jelena Ristic, the girlfriend of Novak Djokovic
Kim Sears, the girlfriend of Andy Murray
Footballer Wayne Rooney and Actor Gerard Butler
David Cameron in the royal box
Wayne Rooney speaks to Gerard Butler in the royal box
Gerard Butler speaks to Justin Rose in the royal box

Eleanor Crooks

Andy Murray ended 77 years of hurt for British tennis as he clinched the Wimbledon men's singles title.

Not since Fred Perry won for the third successive year, in 1936, had the grass-court grand slam seen a home victory in the men's final.

But Murray put last year's defeat to Roger Federer firmly behind him by beating world number one Novak Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-4 on Centre Court.

The annual reminder that another year has passed since Perry's pomp will not come in 2014; instead it will be Murray returning to defend the title he won quite brilliantly on a searingly hot day in London.

Murray landed the US Open in New York title last September, after winning Olympic gold at Wimbledon, but today's prize was the one he, like generations of previous British challengers before, had wanted the most.

Murray broke down in tears of joy and relief when Djokovic found the net at match point down.

Murray strolled around the court high-fiving spectators in the crowd as the enormity of his achievement sank in.

The 26-year-old Scot asked Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett for permission to go up to his box in the stands, where he embraced mother Judy.

Murray had a huge smile on his face as he was presented with the trophy by the Duke of Kent.

"It feels slightly different to last year," Murray said.

"Last year was one of the toughest moments of my career, so to manage to win the tournament today...

"It was an unbelievably tough match, so many long games."

He saw Djokovic come back from 40-love behind in the final game of the match to force deuce and threaten to level up at 5-5, but Murray dug deep and landed his reward.

"I don't know how I managed to come through that last game from (holding) three match points," he said.

"I'm so glad to finally do it."

Asked by on-court interviewer Sue Barker about the "torturous" nature of the final game, Murray said: "Imagine playing it.

"I've played Novak many times and when everyone's finished playing he's going to down as one of the biggest fighters.

"He's come back so many times from losing positions and he almost did the same again today.

"That made it extra tough and I just managed to squeeze through in the end.

"That win was for myself but I also understand how much everyone else wanted to see a British winner at Wimbledon. I hope you guys enjoyed it. I tried my best."

He thanked all the members of 'Team Murray', including coach Ivan Lendl, who watched from the players' box.

"They've been through everything with me," Murray said.

"I've got a great team and they've stuck with me through a lot of tough moments, and this one is especially for Ivan as well because I know he did everything to try to win this when he was playing, and I'm glad I was able to help him out when he was coaching.

"He's a fantastic person.

"He's worked extremely hard with me, been very patient, because I'm not easy at times, but thank you very much to everyone up there."

World number one Djokovic was graceful in defeat, saying: "Congratulations to Andy, you absolutely deserved this win, you played incredible tennis.

"Congratulations to his team. I know how much it means to them. I know how much it means to you guys in this country. Well done."

The crowd roared their approval of the Serbian in acknowledgement, before Djokovic was reminded of how intense the pressure has been on Murray at Wimbledon.

"That makes his success even bigger. I'm aware of the pressure he gets," Djokovic said.

"Definitely there's a lot of expectations of him.

"I gave it my all, it was a pleasure to be part of this match, this final. Thank you."

Murray started the match extremely well, earning three break points in the opening game, but he could not take any of them and the crowd groaned.

He did not have to wait long for more chances. Three times Djokovic saved break points in the third game but Murray took a fourth chance, wrong-footing his opponent with a backhand.

When they played in the Australian Open final in January, Murray had not broken the Djokovic serve all match.

But the world number one was straight on the offensive, targeting the Murray second serve and breaking when the Scot netted a backhand.

Murray was striking the ball extremely well and pushed Djokovic into errors as he regained the break to lead 4-3.

Murray began the next game with two double faults. He faced two more break points but saved them, the second after a long rally where at one point umpire Mohamed Lahyani appeared to call a Djokovic shot long.

Play continued and after Murray finally won the point Djokovic protested at length to Lahyani.

Murray was going for his shots on the big points, none more so than the forehand he drilled into the corner to save a third break point.

The second seed knew what a big game it was and when he eventually held the crowd roared and Djokovic yelled and gesticulated at his box.

The Serbian survived a fall to hold and trail 5-4 but Murray played a perfect game to serve it out, taking the set 6-4.

It was a great start for the British number one, but he knew he had done the same in his last three matches against Djokovic and lost them all.

The world number one was struggling to hit winners, managing only six in the first set compared to 17 unforced errors, while Murray's statistics were the exact opposite.

But there were signs at the start of the second set that Djokovic was raising his level and that was certainly the case as he broke Murray to lead 3-1.

Fortune favoured Murray as the ball flicked off the tape to give him two break points at 4-2 behind.

Murray netted on both but forced a third, Djokovic hitting the deck for a third time in a vain attempt to retrieve a forehand, and this time the Serbian double-faulted.

Djokovic had used up all his Hawk-Eye challenges, and that came back to haunt him in the 11th game as a Murray backhand that he thought was long was called in.

He raged at Lahyani, prompting boos from the crowd, but had to face two break points. He saved one but netted a forehand on the second to leave Murray serving for the set.

Djokovic had lost his cool and could not put any pressure on Murray, with the Scot slamming down an ace to take the set 7-5 for a two-set lead.

Murray made the best possible start to the third set by breaking.

He somehow retrieved a Djokovic forehand to keep the point alive and then won it on a challenge when a backhand was shown to be long.

Murray had already begun to head back to his chair having assumed the shot would be called out.

The Scot, who was on a 17-match winning streak on grass, was in new territory at Wimbledon but looked comfortable.

He had to keep the pressure on, though, and Djokovic seemed to gain belief by holding from 0-30 in the third game.

That looked very important when he forced a break point in the next game and Murray missed a volley he should have made.

A match that Murray had been in complete control of had become a lot tighter, and when he netted a forehand to trail 4-2, Djokovic had won four games in a row.

The Serbian was using the drop shot to good effect, but one too many took Murray to 0-30 in the next game, and another break soon followed.

A running forehand, one of his best shots all tournament, levelled matters again at 4-4, leaving Murray just two games away.

Murray was back, and another sensational forehand brought up two break points to leave him serving for the match.

Djokovic netted and Centre Court roared in anticipation of acclaiming their hero.

It was deafening as he stepped up to serve, and he quickly brought up three match points.

But it was not going to be that easy. Djokovic saved all three and three times had break point.

Murray kept his nerve, saving them all, and some brilliant play saw him create a fourth match point. This time Djokovic's resistance was over.

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