Wimbledon win is the best

Murray reachs the “pinnacle of tennis” with straight sets victory over Djokovic and thanks coach for keeping the faith

WIMBLEDON champion Andy Murray believes he will never play a tougher final game than the one which clinched his maiden SW19 title against Novak Djokovic yesterday.

Having fallen a break behind to trail 4-2 in the third set, Murray displayed all the resilience of a true champion to win three games in a row and leave himself with an opportunity to serve for the match.

As a hopeful, and somewhat expectant, Centre Court crowd roared him on to lead 40-0, the Scot seemingly choked and soon had to defend break points against his serve.

But in an epic final game, which epitomised more than three hours of physically and mentally gruelling tennis, Djokovic slammed a backhand into the net on Murray’s fourth championship-point to spark scenes of euphoria, mixed with more than just a tinge of relief.

“Winning Wimbledon is the pinnacle of tennis. The last game almost increased that feeling,” said the 26-year-old. “That last game will be the toughest game I’ll play in my career, ever. It’s the hardest few points I’ve had to play in my life.

“I didn’t feel great after the 40-0 to deuce. Then I started to feel nervous and started thinking about what just happened. Very rarely will you get broken from 40-0 up on grass and when you’re serving for Wimbledon.

“Just with how that last game went my head was kind of everywhere. I mean some of the shots he came up with were unbelievable. It was just an amazing finish to the match.”

Despite carrying intense pressure on his broad shoulders, Murray carved out three break points in the opening game of the first set, but Djokovic dug deep to hold his serve.

However, the world No1 was looking vulnerable, with the blistering summer sun seemingly playing havoc for the servers, and Murray had further break point opportunities in the third game, before finally drawing first blood at the seventh opportunity.

Djokovic immediately broke back, but Murray regained his advantage in the seventh game to move 4-3 in front before closing out the opening set in 59 minutes.

Djokovic appeared in total control of the second set and quickly opened up a 4-1 lead. But the Serb served a double fault in the seventh game to let his opponent back in and when Murray broke again to lead 6-5 he soon finished matters off with an ace.

The 2011 champion had overturned a two-set deficit to win on three occasions in his career, but with Murray’s defence as solid as Hadrian’s Wall the Scot broke immediately in the third, with a successful challenge to a backhand slice, originally called in, adding to the drama of this monumental occasion.

However, Djokovic underlined just why he is so difficult to beat on any surface, as he introduced a series of a drop shots in a bid to move away from baseline rallies, shortening the length of each point, and his tactic soon moved him a break up, leading 4-2.

But Murray is made of stern stuff these days and broke twice himself to move 5-4 up, before “that” game sealed an afternoon of sporting drama at its best.

Before lifting the trophy Murray made the climb to his box to celebrate with family, friends and coach Ivan Lendl – himself a two-time Wimbledon runner-up.

Since the pair began working together in January 2012, Murray has entered six grand slams, reaching the final on four occasions and won twice.

And Murray feels his Wimbledon triumph repaid the faith former world No1 Lendl has shown in him.

“He believed in me when a lot of people didn’t,” said Murray.

“He stuck by me through some tough losses in the last couple of years. He’s been very patient with me. I’m happy I managed to do it for him.

“He’s been extremely honest with me. If I work hard, he’s happy. If I don’t, he’s disappointed and he’ll tell me.

“He said [after the match] he was proud of me, which obviously coming from him means a lot.

“He doesn’t smile in public too much, but when he’s away from the crowds and the cameras he’s a different character.

“Ideally he would have won it himself, but I think this was the next best thing for him.”

MAKING HISTORY
■ Before yesterday, the last time a Brit won the men’s singles was 1936

■ Back then, in 1936, Manchester United were champions... of the second division. Sunderland won the first division for the last time, while Arsenal lifted the FA Cup

■ Tensions were rising in Europe ahead of the Second World War. With the effects of the Great Depression still being felt, economist John Maynard Keynes published his influential text The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

■ Yet on the tennis court, all was well. Fred Perry won a hat-trick of singles titles at Wimbledon from 1934 to 1936

■ Before 1922, the defending champion had to play just one match to defend his title. Since then, aside from Perry and Andy Murray, the only other British man to reach the final of Wimbledon was Bunny Austin, who lost in 1932 and 1938

THREE SETS, THREE HOURS, ONE HISTORIC AFTERNOON – THE STORY OF HOW MURRAY WON WIMBLEDON
Djokovic saves three break points before winning the opening game of the first set

Murray breaks in the third and seventh games though, before taking the set 6-4

The second set starts disastrously for Murray, as rejuvenated Djokovic races into a 4-1 lead

But Murray wins six of the next sevens games and seals the second set, 7-5, with an ace

Murray breaks immediately in the third set, but soon trails 4-2 as Djokovic digs deep

But Murray wins the next four games in a row and takes the title on his fourth match point, 6-4