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16.9m watched Murray heart-breaker

Almost 17 million people shared Andy Murray's tears after he lost his dramatic Wimbledon match on Sunday - the highest figure for any final at the tournament for more than 20 years.

It is thought to be the biggest tennis audience since at least 1990 as the nation united to watch the Scot's nailbiting Centre Court battle with Roger Federer.

At the peak of the match, an audience of 16.9 million was tuning in, overnight figures have shown. That amounted to two-thirds of the TV audience at that time, as the tournament reached its climax. An average of 11.4 million viewers tuned in for the duration of the BBC's coverage, according to statistics.

Murray, 25, will now be reflecting on the highest profile match of his professional career after he lost 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 to Swiss Federer.

Viewers saw the British number one break down in tears as he spoke to the crowd, to thank them - and his family - for the deafening applause throughout the match.

His emotional response touched the nation, which had been willing Murray to become the first British man to win the title since Fred Perry in 1936. Instead it was Federer who made history, equalling Pete Sampras's record of seven Wimbledon titles. The 30-year-old now has a total of 17 Grand Slams, and has restored his world number one ranking.

Murray, who is representing Great Britain in the Olympics in just a few weeks, said on Sunday night that he plans to take some time away from the game.

"There's no point in going on the court until I'm ready to go out there and learn and work hard and do the right things in the gym and in practice." He added: "So I need to take a few days off, let everything heal, recover, and then see. But I won't be on the court next week, that's for sure."

Murray's unusual display of emotion on court took fans by surprise, also reducing girlfriend Kim Sears and mother Judy Murray to tears.

Murray was watched by a galaxy of stars in the Royal Box, including the Duchess of Cambridge and sister Pippa Middleton, David and Victoria Beckham, and Prime Minister David Cameron.

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