He celebrated his triumph with a $6 lemonade. But Andy Murray is expected to earn £20m from his entry into the Grand Slam club after America fell in love with the Scot who finally broke Britain's tennis hoodoo.
Sponsors, politicians and the world's media are all clamouring for a piece of Murray (25) whose draining victory over Novak Djokovic to claim the US Open crown at Flushing Meadows could elevate him above David Beckham as Britain's most valuable sporting brand.
The first British male to win a Grand Slam for 76 years, Murray (right) left his modest Midtown hotel room bleary-eyed yesterday, to relive his five-set triumph in a round of US TV breakfast show interviews. He updated his Facebook page, telling fans: “Very busy day ahead, but I want to thank all of you for your support and belief in me. Didn't sleep very much last night!”
Murray then paraded the trophy through Central Park for the cameras, a display which some New Yorkers claimed was insensitive since a 9/11 commemoration was close by.
The champion, who was due to fly home last night, had discovered that being “king of the hill, top of the heap” in New York opens doors — particularly at the stylish
Hakkasan restaurant which welcomed Murray and his entourage an hour-and-a-half after closing time, following his win under the lights on Monday.
The party racked up a $6,448 (£4,000) bill in the restaurant's Ling Ling bar with a tip of $1,289. But the champion stuck to a lemon soda.
Throughout his interviews, Murray maintained that his focus remained firmly on winning more Slams and becoming undisputed world No 1. Yet the presence of mind which caused Murray to search frantically for a watch given to him by the Swiss brand Rado, to display for the cameras during the trophy ceremony, will stand him in good stead as hardball negotiations begin over maximising his new status.
Murray, who pocketed £1.2m for his victory, earned £7.5m in the past 12 months, according to Forbes. He has lucrative contracts with Adidas, Royal Bank of Scotland and Jaguar.
Nigel Currie, director of the sports marketing agency Brand Rapport, said: “Murray could realistically triple his off-court earnings from sponsorship, advertising and endorsements to £20m in the next 12 months.”
In 2008, Murray joined the XIX Entertainment management stable, which guides the careers of David and Victoria Beckham and Lewis Hamilton. Created by Simon Fuller, the entrepreneur behind the Spice Girls and Pop Idol, XIX aims to turn Murray and his girlfriend, Kim Sears, into a Posh-and-Becks style “brand”.
But the contract is coming up for renewal and it is believed that IMG, the sports and media management giant, is seeking to lure Murray with a counter-offer. IMG sources claim they could negotiate higher value sponsorship deals for the champion.