You can barely hear anything at all at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club except the cheers of the crowds on the Aorangi Terrace, soon, surely to hand over the baton from Henman Hill to Murray Mound.
After all, a 77 year drought has been broken in Britain. The world’s oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament has finally given its home nation a national champion. Andy Murray, Wimbledon champion for 2013, the first since Fred Perry in 1936.
Murray fought Roger Federer in 2012 and wept when he lost. This year, he managed to conquer world number 1 Novak Djokovic and far more effectively than he did at the US Open last year.
Who would have predicted a straight sets victory in this particular match, when two of the world’s most tenacious retrievers played each other? But Murray did it, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. It was a hard fought match however, beginning with an exchange of breaks.
No matter how hard Djokovic tried, Murray was not giving in. This was however a somewhat tentative Djokovic, feeling perhaps the jarring effects of his semi-final against Juan Martin Del Potro.
But as the match progressed, it was not Djokovic who was the focus. It was Murray all the way. The first set took 59 minutes but must have felt like two hours to the people on what’s still the Hill.
The second set may have lasted longer (69) minutes but it was soon evident that Djokovic was feeling the pressure, feeling being world number one under the gun. He argued with chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani several times over line calls.
He made that one crucial mistake in a match: showed his frustration. The third set however made it clear that Murray had his hold on this one. Even after a little wobble, he was bringing it.
Djokovic only showed the fighting spirit that has made him famous the most when Murray was serving for the Championship by which time it was hardly enough.
Murray didn’t manage it when he was at 40-0 but he was not surrendering. On advantage, Djokovic’s shot hit the net and that was it. Andy Murray, Wimbledon champion.
Djokovic was gracious in defeat, congratulating Murray, his team and “the whole country”. Murray referenced his loss to Federer last year calling it one of the toughest matches of his career.
But this one? With his dry understatement, Murray said, “Feels slightly different to last year.” And you can say that again. Murray pretty much defanged Djokovic and kept his sense of humour to the end.
On being told the last game was painful to watch, his answer was: ‘Imagine playing it”! The sun will still rise tomorrow and the world will turn.
But the tennis world has had to stop for a bit and breathe. There’s a new Wimbledon champion in town.
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