Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Heroic Andy Murray serves up a special moment slaying Djokovic at Wimbledon

It doesn't get any better than this triumph

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07:  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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: 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 Julian Finney/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
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.

Forget extra-time at the World Cup, dismiss Jonny Wilkinson's winning penalty in 2003 and don't even mention Seve's putt at St Andrew's in 1984.

To feel sheer gut wrenching tension and to witness the ability of one man to triumph over the most stifling, throat tightening pressure, Wimbledon's Centre Court yesterday at 5.25pm may now be the place to say we bore witness to the greatest of the greats.

By ending 77 years of British sporting hurt, Andy Murray didn't just win the nation's first Wimbledon men's title since 1936, he did it by carrying millions of us on his back, groaning, cheering, clapping, bordering on hysteria. Sometimes you almost felt him stagger under the weight of us.

Towards the end of his win, under a clear blue sky and in blistering 100 degree temperatures, he had to blot out of his mind the collective sucking in of breath that would have made those not superhuman crumble.

How he tossed the ball for serve towards the end only the 26-year-old Scot will know. Perhaps no other sports star in the world could have dealt with that sort of burden in the theatre of dreams.

The record books might suggest a 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 win in the final was, relatively for this intense sport, pretty straightforward. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Across the net was the world No.1 Novak Djokovic, a player of breathtaking athleticism who does not know what it is to throw a hand up in surrender.

And so it came down to exactly 5.25pm as these two prizefighting champions (boxing parlance seems so cliched a way to describe them but no other sporting analogy will do) stood across the net from each other, the blistering sun only now starting to lengthen their shadows. Murray had unbelievably, by sheer force of will, forced himself back into a third set that the number one seed had taken a 4-2 lead in.

Now it was 5-4, Murray having broken back in the previous game with a stunning run and get from a Djokovic drop shot that took the wind from the Serbian's sails.

Heavy oppressive air hung over the Centre Court, brains were boiling, and suddenly the sport of tennis seemed unmatchable for competitiveness stretched to its limit and sheer drama.

A sport most of us only fall in love with for two weeks of the year and for the rest is played behind high fences, mostly by the privileged, seemed so obviously the most exciting in the world. 15-0 Murray, 30-0 Murray, screams of anticipation in the air. Wait, an overhit Novak forehand, 40-0 Murray and three Championship points.

The last time you could say that, Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister and a man called Hitler was beginning to make waves over the Channel. But wait. Now the tension is unbearable. Does Murray think about what he's having for tea tonight? Better not think about 20 million people on the edge of their seats. And then that terrible thing with tennis. Total silence.

Just one man, not a team, one man has to deliver. And will be judged a choker if he doesn't. Not sure how much pressure was involved in being the first man on the moon but right now being Andy Murray would be up there, too. And, of course, Djokovic is Djokovic. 40-15, 40-30, a terribly weak second serve by Andy, cramped with fear.

Then 40-40, an over hit forehand. Advantage Djokovic and suddenly all of us are writing different headlines in our minds. 'Remember those three Championship points Andy Murray bottled that year in Wimbledon?', we would forever say. Murray somehow saves, keeps himself in this soon to be historic game, perhaps fearing, as we do, that he must win here or Novak will pounce, steal away his dream, perhaps forever.

One of the greatest collapses of all time is on the cards. Somehow Murray climbs his own personal Everest again, fending off two break points and we are at a fourth Championship point. A quick rally and Djokovic hits out. There is disbelief then the highest pitched roar Wimbledon has ever heard. Murray collapses to the floor. He staggers around. He can't believe it himself but that carpet and table are coming out, the dignatories are gathering. He really is Wimbledon champion.

And he deserves to be. Yesterday he beat the best player in the world because he played the best tennis. Watching Murray on court it is now clearer than ever that after last year's Olympic gold medal win here when he surfed the crowds, the public's love and support has changed him.

He cares little for the minor royalty and the Victoria Beckhams in the Royal Box and probably even less for the Prime Minister or the First Minister of Scotland who opportunistically waved the Saltire after match point thinking it might get him two more points in the polls on the march to independence.

Murray dismisses all that. It is the people who pay for their seats that he now has an unbreakable bond with. They have seen him through some scrapes already this Wimbledon and they were here again for him yesterday.

In truth this was not a classic match but it was a brutal one between two baseliners of astounding stamina and iron will power. In the first set, rallies averaged around five minutes, hugely punishing in one of the hottest Wimbledon final days ever. Murray spurned a great chance to break Djokovic in the very first game but made no mistake in the third with a searing back hand pass down the line. The Serb broke back but Murray came back again at him to break to love and take the seventh game and then even more crucially beat off break point to take a 5-3 lead. With the Murray first serve working well, he held to love to take the first set 6-4.

These were brutally long rallies with both men hugging the baseline but Djokovic changed tactics in the second set, pushing his man further back as he took risks to charge the net.

The Serb's drop shot was also to the fore as he raced to a 4-1 lead. But just as he did against Verdasco, Murray raced back, surviving an onslaught to hold the eighth game and breaking him in the 11th to go from 4-1 down to 6-5 up.

A comfortable service hold and we were beginning to dream. This really was remarkable guts from Murray.

In the third, Djokovic became rattled and his unforced error count started to go off the scale. By the fifth game he had reached 35 howlers, and his serve was easy pickings for the Scot. But still he forced himself to a 4-2 lead.

Breaks of serve were coming quickly, Novak holding on to the match with sheer willpower. At 4-4 Murray latched on to another Djokovic drop shot to race a forehand down the line, a stunning shot to break that brought the crowd to its feet.

Now we were at the denouement, the game which will be replayed many more times on our TV sets but hopefully not as a damning indictment of the next 77 years of British underachievement.

At the end, with Sue Barker's mic thrust at him, there were no tears, indeed he sounded like he was picking up an employee of the month award. He'd left everything he had out on the court. And that was more than enough.

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