Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Andy Murray Wins His First Wimbledon Title

"Born a week apart in May 1987, Murray and Djokovic have known each other since they were 11, and they grasp the ins and outs of each other's games so well. And they have upped the physical stakes with Rafael Nadal and are threatening to separate themselves from Roger Federer, who turns 32 in August and has dropped to No. 5, his lowest ranking in a decade."
BBC:
Andy Murray won his first Wimbledon title and ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's champion with a hard-fought victory over world number one Novak Djokovic.

The Scot, 26, converted his fourth championship point in a dramatic final game to win 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 and claim his second major title. After a grueling three hours and nine minutes, Murray had finally followed in the footsteps of Fred Perry's 1936 win at the All England Club.

In an atmosphere reminiscent of his Olympic final win last summer, Murray was willed on by the majority of the 15,000 spectators on Centre Court, thousands watching on the nearby big screen and millions more around the country.

The final game was a battle in itself, with Murray seeing three match points slip by from 40-0 and fending off three Djokovic break points with some fearless hitting, before the Serb netted a backhand to end the contest.

Murray, who collected a first prize of £1.6m, then headed into the stands to celebrate with his family and support team, moments later parading the trophy around Centre Court.

"That last game will be the toughest game I'll play in my career. Ever," said Murray. "Winning Wimbledon -- I still can't believe it. Can't get my head around that. I can't believe it."

The Dunblane native, who becomes Scotland's first Wimbledon singles champion since Harold Mahony in 1896, thanked his coach Ivan Lendl for believing in him.

Lendl, an eight-time major winner but never a Wimbledon champion despite reaching two finals, started coaching the Scot at the end of 2011.

"He's always been very honest with me and told me exactly what he thought and in tennis that's not easy to do in a player/coach relationship," said the world number two. "He's got my mentality slightly different going into matches."

In a five-year period from 1985 to 1990, Lendl won the US Open three times and the Australian Open and French Open twice each. He was world number one for an unbroken three-year stretch and a finalist eight years running at the American major.

While the Scot has competed in an era where Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic won 29 of 30 successive major titles, Lendl was part of a late 1980s 'fab four' that also featured the sumptuous skills of Boris Becker, Pat Cash and Stefan Edberg.

When defeat by Federer at Wimbledon last year meant Murray matched Lendl's losing 0-4 record in Grand Slam finals, his voice cracked and tears rolled as he told the crowd: "I'm getting closer."

Murray said perseverance has been the story of his career. He also admitted that being the standard-bearer for the sport in Britain was "really hard".

"For the last four or five years it's been very tough, very stressful, a lot of pressure," he said.

USA Today:
For several seasons, Murray was the outsider looking in, while Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic collected 29 out of 30 Grand Slam titles. But now Murray has clearly and completely turned the Big 3 into a Big 4, having reached the finals at the last four major tournaments he entered (he withdrew from the French Open in May because of a bad back). And he's now a two-time Slam champion, having defeated Djokovic in five sets at the U.S. Open in September.

Murray, who also won the 2012 Olympic gold medal at Wimbledon, ran his unbeaten string on grass to 18-0 since.

Meeting in their third major final in less than a year, the world's top two players and defensive standouts exchanged many grueling groundstroke rallies. A few went 30 shots or more.

"The bottom line is that he was a better player in decisive moments," said Djokovic, the 2011 Wimbledon winner. "He was all over the court. Even though when I was putting my first serves in he was always getting them back in the court and making me play an extra shot," Djokovic said. "That's why he won this tournament."

Admittedly feeling the effects of his five-setter Friday against Juan Martin del Potro -- at 4 hours, 43 minutes, it's the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history -- Djokovic was far more erratic than Murray, with particular problems on the backhand side. Djokovic wound up with 40 unforced errors, nearly double Murray's 21.


More information:
» David Cameron: "Murray Deserves Knighthood"

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