Andy Murray wins game, set, match and nation over
By Roger Childs
Scottish, British, it doesn’t matter, a native of the United Kingdom has finally won a grand slam tennis tournament.
In beating Novak Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in the United States Open final, Andy Murray became the first Briton to win one of the four premier tennis events for 76 years.
He has laid to rest the ghosts of finals passed – he had previously lost four of these – and the famous Fred Perry who won the US Open back in 1936 can rest easy in his grave.
Escaped gunman to go on to sporting glory
In 1996 Murray could have been killed as a student at Dunblane School as he hid in a classroom when a gunman went berserk and killed 17 people, but he escaped unharmed. Murray was a talented soccer and tennis player as a youngster, however in opting to specialise in the racquet game he has gone on to win over 75% of his professional matches and net more than $US23 million.
He reached a world ranking of number two in 2009, but a coveted grand slam title eluded him. At Wimbledon this year he went close against Roger Federer, probably the greatest player of all time. Simon Barnes The Times tennis reporter summed up Murray’s dilemma in seeking the elusive grand slam.
He made a major error in being born … at a time when three players of undisputed all-time greatness are all plying their trade. However after the Wimbledon final Federer said that Murray will win at least one grand slam and Murray himself commented I’m getting closer.
London Olympics were the breakthrough
The London Olympics were a major breakthrough with Murray comfortably beating Federer for the gold medal.
Then less than a month later the US Open at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York provided the setting for achieving the one goal that had escaped him. Once again he carried the weight of a nation, but was determined to get the large monkey off his back.
The first set could have gone either way, but Murray prevailed 12-10 in the tie break. With the second set under his belt it all looked too easy, but Djokovic, currently number two, is not a player to lie down. Murray lost his way and the Serb quickly won the next two sets. The Scot was staring down the barrel of his fifth grand slam finals loss. However Murray rallied at the crucial time and showing the composure that he has often lacked at the finish of key matches, only conceded two games in the final set.
‘ History has been made’
History has been made and as the DomPost headline put it: ‘Murray has mettle to end 76-year British jinx.’ A lot of the credit can go to eight times grand slam winner Ivan Lendl, who Murray hired as a coach earlier this year.
‘Under his guidance the current number three has become a much more disciplined player; a far cry from the sometimes scruffy, temperamental and occasional racquet abuser of years gone by. He has helped me through the tough times as have all of my team, Murray said. Part of that team is mother Judy who has faithfully and vocally supported him courtside over the years. She can now also rest easy.’
A question for tennis aficionados out there: when was the last year, prior to 2012, four different male players each won a grand slam?