Andy Murray ends Britain's 76-year wait without a men's singles
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE) (ORIGINALLY 4:3 MATERIAL) (REUTERS) - Britain's long wait is over. The nation that invented modern tennis finally has a champion for the new age after Andy Murray won the U.S. Open in New York on Monday (September 10).
The jokes about wooden rackets and men playing tennis in long, white trousers have lost their punchline and Fred Perry, the last British man to win a grand slam single title way back in 1936, can rest in peace.
It has been a long and agonising wait for Murray too. The 25-year-old Scot, a naturally shy, introverted man, has carried the weight of expectation since the moment he emerged as the potential drought-breaker.
Unfairly branded a 'choker' after losing his first four grand slam final appearances, Murray silenced his critics and exorcised his own doubts forever when he beat the defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia in a five-set thriller.
"I know when I was serving for the match, there's a sense of how, you know, how big a moment that is in British tennis history really so, you know, that obviously adds to it. I know more than most, you know, British players, I have been asked about it many times when I got close to winning Grand Slams before. I get asked about it more and more even after I won the Olympics, I still got asked, when are you going to win a Grand Slam? So, yeah, it's great to have finally done it," said Murray.
In 2010, Murray cried when he lost the Australian Open final to Roger Federer and he sobbed again when he lost to the Swiss master at Wimbledon in July.
But on Monday, under the bright lights of New York City's national tennis centre, he shed tears of a joy as the heavy burden was lifted from his shoulders with a rousing 7-6 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 victory.
It has been a long and hard road to the top for Murray, who was born in Glasgow and raised in Dunblane.
He was a pupil at Dunblane Primary School and present on the day in 1996 when a gunman shot dead 16 students and a teacher before turning the gun on himself. Murray, eight years old at the time, hid under a desk.
When he was 15, he moved to Barcelona to further his tennis career and in 2008, he made his first grand slam final, at the U.S. Open, losing in straight sets.
He made the Australian Open final in 2010 and again a year later, but the results were the same, triggering doubts in his own mind even though he was an established top player and regular winner of Masters events.
Earlier this year, he hired former world number one Ivan Lendl as his coach and things started to change.
He became the first British man to reach the final at Wimbledon since Bunny Austin in 1938 and although he lost, he at least managed to win a set.
Then a few weeks later, he avenged his loss to Federer when he won the gold medal on the same Wimbledon Centre Court at the London Olympics before coming to New York to win his maiden Grand Slam event.
Murray now hopes that his win will inspire a new generation of British tennis players.
"I hope now, you know, it inspires some kids to play tennis and also takes away the notion that British tennis players choke or don't win or it's not a good sport, you know, it's in a very good place in the UK right now," he said.