Wimbledon and Andy Murray: A story of destiny, history and a 77 year wait
“Destiny is the word”. That is how presenter Alan Wilkins summarised it all. This was a moment destined to happen, for Andy Murray, for his native Scotland, for Britain and for Wimbledon itself.
Close to eight decades after Fred Perry won the last of his hat-trick of wins back in 1936, Murray became the first British man after World War II to claim the gentlemen’s singles title.
He also became the second Scot ever, since Harold Mahony in 1896, to win the Wimbledon singles title.
It was a moment that seemed pre-destined and planned by the powers above. Murray played like a man possessed, ran like a superhuman and chased down almost impossible balls, which surprised not only the 15,000 strong Centre Court crowd but also himself.
Novak Djokovic seemed totally listless and out of touch, barring the few comebacks he made. The Serb made as many as 40 unforced errors to the Scot’s 21.
This was Murray’s day, his moment, his 3 hours, and he wasn’t going to miss the chance. He played out of his skin, cheered on by a boisterous crowd, 15,000 inside, 70,000 watching on the big screens around Wimbledon and Henman Hill (or the Murray Mound), and millions watching back home.
Murray seemed in supreme confidence, and his swift movements – while playing on both flanks – and his slides to get to the ball, were in a different league altogether. He won 26 of the 37 net approaches that he made (70%, which is amazing for a final).
He had waited long years for this day and he was playing his part to picture perfection. The months of practice and hard work came off well, and his decision to skip the Roland Garros (which Rafael Nadal won for an eight time a month back), helped him focus on this event.
His opponent, world no.1 Djokovic summed it up when he said, “He was all over the court. He played fantastic tennis, no question about it. He deserved to win. Me, you know, I should have played better in the decisive moments.”
The British number one seemed shocked and and in disbelief for quite some time after the match, still to let the magnitude of the occasion sink in, to realise what he had just achieved. “Winning Wimbledon, I can’t get my head around that. I still can’t believe it’s happened.”
The last game, which lasted over 10 tense nerve-racking minutes, minutes that may have seemed as long as another 77 years, was probably the highlight of the match.
As Murray himself said, “I think that last game will be the toughest I’ll play in my career.” He had three championship points, serving at 40-0 up, and lost all three to a determined comeback that we are so used to seeing from Djokovic.
He finally won it after four deuces, on his fourth championship point, and Centre Court just erupted. “I don’t know how I managed to come through that last game from holding three match points. I’m so glad to finally do it,” said the Scot.
This match surely ranks amongst the best moments in British sport and is probably a sign of British sports coming into their own after decades of being dominated at games they once conquered.
The English cricket team winning the Ashes thrice out of the last four series is another sign. The Ashes starting next week provides another opportunity for British sport to showcase their revival and reaffirm their control.
As for the final, it brings the curtains on a Wimbledon which has been a thrilling in parts, shocking in others and tumultuous all through; it was a tournament that won’t be forgotten easily. It was a Wimbledon that ensured that ‘Fred Perry’, ’1936′ and ’77 years’ would be terms no longer used by the British media.