Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Andy turns Belfast City Hall lawns into a mini-Murray Mound

Crowds watching the Wimbledon final at Belfast City Hall . Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Crowds watching the Wimbledon final at Belfast City Hall . Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Crowds watching the Wimbledon final at Belfast City Hall . Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates victory next to Novak Djokovic of Serbia after their 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)
Crowds watching the Wimbledon final at Belfast City Hall . Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Crowds watching the Wimbledon final at Belfast City Hall . Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Great Britain's Andy Murray kisses his mum, Judy Murray, after defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the Men's Final during day thirteen of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon.
Crowds watching the Wimbledon final at Belfast City Hall . Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Great Britain's Andy Murray kisses the trophy after beating Serbia's Novak Djokovic on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Photo by Adam Davy/PA Wire.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Spectators watch a giant TV showing Britain's Andy Murray play Novak Djokovic of Sebia in the gentleman's singles final at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Andy Murray of Great Britain kicks a tennis ball as he celebrates victory in 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)
Great Britain's Andy Murray looks at the trophy as it's lid came off, after defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the Men's Final during day thirteen of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
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 poses with the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy next to Novak Djokovic of Serbia following his victory in the Gentlemen's Singles Final match 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 speaks with Sue Barker as he holds the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy following his victory in 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 shakes hands with a fan as he makes his way up to his player's box following his victory in 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)
DUNBLANE, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 7: Dunblane residents watch local boy Andy Murray of Great Britain play Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the Wimbledon 2013 Men's Singles final, on July 7, 2013 in Dunblane, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
DUNBLANE, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 7: Dunblane residents watch local boy Andy Murray of Great Britain play Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the Wimbledon 2013 Men's Singles final, on July 7, 2013 in Dunblane, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
DUNBLANE, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 7: Dunblane residents watch local boy Andy Murray of Great Britain play Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the Wimbledon 2013 Men's Singles final, on July 7, 2013 in Dunblane, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Spectators on Centre Court hold signs aloft displaying messages in support of Andy Murray of Great Britain during his 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Kim Sears, the girlfriend of Andy Murray of Great shows her support during his 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: Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand during the Gentlemen's Singles Final match against Andy Murray of Great Britain 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Jelena Ristic, the girlfriend of Novak Djokovic of Serbia cheers during his Gentlemen's Singles Final match against Andy Murray of Great Britain 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: Victoria Beckham attends the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Gerard Butler and Wayne Rooney attend the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Ronnie Wood and Sally Humphreys attend the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Spectators rest in the sun as they watch a giant TV showing Britain's Andy Murray play Novak Djokovic of Sebia in the gentleman's singles final at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Spectators watch a giant TV showing Britain's Andy Murray play Novak Djokovic of Sebia in the gentleman's singles final at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: A spectator watches a giant TV showing Britain's Andy Murray play Novak Djokovic of Sebia in the gentleman's singles final at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: A spectator shades his head with a newspaper hat as he watches a giant TV showing Britain's Andy Murray play Novak Djokovic of Sebia in the gentleman's singles final at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 7, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Coleen Rooney attends the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Kim Sears, the girlfriend of Andy Murray of Great Britain takes her seat before 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: Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Dame Mitsuko Uchida attend the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Bradley Cooper attends the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband speaks with Rod Laver before the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Ronnie Wood speaks with Judy Murray before the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Wayne Rooney, Victoria Beckham and Tana Ramsey attend the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Greg Rusedski and Lucy Rusedski attend the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: Bradley Cooper and Gerard Butler attend the Gentlemen's Singles Final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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: An engraving at the base of the Fred Perry statue displays his name and the years of his Wimbledon final victories ahead of the 2013 Gentlemen's Singles final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Tennis fans walk through the grounds ahead of the 2013 Gentlemen's Singles final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: The statue of Fred Perry ahead of the 2013 Gentlemen's Singles final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Spectators walk past an electronic board displaying informaktion about Andy Murray of Great Britain ahead of his 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Spectators rest in line for tickets on men's finals day at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 7, 2013 in London, England. Great Britain's Andy Murray will play Novak Djokovic of Serbia in today's gentleman's singles final on Centre Court. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
FILE - JULY 07, 2013: Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon. NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Andy Murray of Great Britain lifts the US Open championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the men's singles final match on Day Fifteen of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Murray defeated Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
FILE - JULY 07, 2013: Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon. LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Gold medalist Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Men's Singles Tennis match on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on August 5, 2012 in London, England. Murray defeated Federer in the gold medal match in straight sets 2-6, 1-6, 4-6. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
FILE - JULY 07, 2013: Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon. LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30: Andy Murray of Great Britain falls as he reaches for a shot during his Gentlemen's Singles third round match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus on day six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on June 30, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Fans cheer and take photographs as Andy Murray of Great Britain poses with the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy following his victory in 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 a 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)
Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates after defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the Men's Final during day thirteen of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) applauds in the Royal Box near Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond (right) as Great Britain's Andy Murray plays Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the Men's Final during day thirteen of the Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. P
Abi Rose is pictured with an Olympic golden post box in Andy Murray's home town of Dunblane in Scotland, ahead of the Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic Wimbledon final. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. P
Downing Street flying the Scottish Saltire to mark the occasion of Andy Murray playing in the Wimbledon final. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Crowds watching the Wimbledon final at Belfast City Hall . Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

THE final game seemed to take for ever. But what's a few more minutes when you've been waiting 77 years for a moment like this? Belfast created its own sun-kissed Murray Mound yesterday as hundreds turned up in Belfast city centre to watch the Scot roar to a historic victory at Wimbledon.

It's not often the City Hall's big screen has so many pairs of eyes glued to it, especially when there are so many weather-generated counter-attractions.

But then it's not every day a British man has the chance to grasp the biggest prize in tennis, and you had the feeling local folk wanted to share and enjoy the historic moment.

It had been forecast that the eagerly-awaited showdown between Andy Murray and Serbia's Novak Djokovic was going to be one of the hottest SW19 finals ever – and tennis fans at City Hall got an inkling of how that felt as temperatures soared into the high 20s.

Yet almost everyone was prepared: sunglasses and summer hats, as well as umbrellas being converted into parasols, were de rigueur in Belfast yesterday.

A few sprigs of grass poked up through a sea of picnic rugs, brightly coloured, over-sized cushions and deck chairs.

Some who hadn't brought supplies made makeshift caps from newspapers, while others decamped to nearby shops to buy suncream.

And, after the grassy area was almost full to capacity, people sat on the concrete paving stones in the courtyard or watched the match from outside, standing behind the peripheral railings.

The sound of applause resonated around City Hall when the two players came on to centre court, and there were cries of "C'mon Andy".

Then there was a hushed silence as the first point of what turned out to be a three-set classic was played; a 20-stroke rally – rather unusual at the very start of a match, and won by Murray.

There was more clapping when the Dunblane man first broke Djokovic's serve in the third game, and it continued as the world's top two ranked players produced some of tennis's finest rallies as they fought to be Wimbledon men's champion.

By 3.15pm the 26-year-old Scot had taken the first set and there were murmurs that, perhaps, he just might be the first British man to win the illustrious tournament wearing shorts as Fred Perry was in full-length trousers for that last triumph back in 1936.

Throughout the excitement, the queue lining up for the Frozen Yoghurt stand never seemed to get any smaller – nor did the crowd of spectators clambering for room as the match approached its nerve-shredding climax.

Shopping sprees were abandoned, bike rides cut short and sightseeing trips put on hold in favour of the big screen and the beckoning of a historic moment in sport.

The atmosphere was jovial, yet nervous, after Murray took the second set. After last year's tear-stained defeat by Roger Federer, could this really be Andy's day?

They came from everywhere to find out; locals sat alongside friends from Scotland and England, were joined by natives from European countries and, as the match entered its final stages there were more than 1,000 people packed into the front end of the iconic building.

They all appeared to have one thing in common: a fervent desire to see Andy Murray beat the world's No.1 player and capture that elusive gold trophy.

When Murray served for the match just before 5.15pm, the crowd went wild, cheering, clapping and shouting.

That game turned out to be an endurance test in itself, as the 26-year-old squandered three championship points from 40-love up and then had to fend off three Djokovic break points.

After a gruelling three hours and 10 minutes, however – and after a broken Djokovic had found the net with a half-hearted return – the scoreboard said it all: 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.

The long, long wait was over, and Britain once again had a Wimbledon men's champion.

Amid the applause, tears were also shed by some ardent fans, including Greg Cameron (23), a deputy manager from Edinburgh.

"I am Andy Murray's biggest fan. I always believed he could do it! It was a brilliant game," said Greg, who now lives in Belfast. He watched the game with his girlfriend Shona McCotter (18), a waitress from Belfast, who had never seen a tennis match before.

"I really enjoyed it, but I'm £5 down because I bet Greg £5 that Murray wouldn't win," said Shona.

Londonderry man Stephen Corr, who works in a solicitor's office, said it was a brilliant achievement on Murray's part.

"Finally, after 77 years, it's great that there is British winner. I will always remember where I was when Andy Murray won Wimbledon," the 28-year-old said.

Account manager Gemma Stone (25) from Derry said she was blown away by the calibre of the Scot's tennis.

"To be honest, I didn't have much faith in him to begin with, but I'm so pleased he proved me wrong," she said.

Physics student Donald Evans from Ayrshire in Scotland said it was a fantastic match, although he admitted he didn't expect Murray to win.

"Last night I was going to put money on Djokovic winning, but now I'm glad I didn't," he said.

"Murray fought hard, it was a great match and he deserved to win.

"It was also fantastic to watch it here in Belfast in the sun."

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