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Andy Murray wins Wimbledon, ends 77-year British drought

2:59 PM, Jul 7, 2013   |    comments
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No need to chin up, England. Wimbledon is yours again.

On a brilliantly sunny Sunday afternoon, No. 2 Andy Murray knocked off top-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, ending 77 years of British anxiety.

Scotland's Murray, 26, is the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry won the last of three consecutive in 1936.

"I understand how much everyone wanted to see a British winner at Wimbledon so I hope you enjoyed it," Murray told the crowd after the match. "I tried my best."

One year after a crushing defeat to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final, Murray returned to the All England Club lawns to capture his second Grand Slam title after last year's U.S. Open, where he beat Serbia's Djokovic in five sets.

Murray also won last year's Olympic gold medal at Wimbledon, and ran his unbeaten string on grass to 18-0.

Meeting in their fourth major final - and third in less than a year - the world's top two players and defensive standouts exchanged many grueling groundstroke rallies. A few went 30 shots or more.

Murray was steadier, taking advantage of the Djokovic's lackluster serving and bouts of error-prone play.

"He was better on the decisive points," Djokovic said. "He was all over the court."

Djokovic came into the match after a record-long semifinal, a 4-hour, 43-minute victory against Juan Martin del Potro.

"It took a lot out of me but I cannot look for excuses in the match two days ago," Djokovic said. "It went five hours and five sets but I've been in these situations before. I felt OK."

Djokovic seemed out of sorts at times throughout the match, talking to himself and engaging in ongoing debates with chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani over a series of close calls that mostly went Murray's way.

Djokovic finished with 31 winners and 40 unforced errors - unusual for the six-time major champ - compared with 36 winners and 21 unforced errors for Murray.

Murray seemed energized by the nearly 15,000 fans on sold-out Centre Court and thousands more watching the big screen from the grounds, storming back from a 1-4 second set deficit to put six-time major winner Djokovic on the ropes.

After dropping his first four Grand Slam finals, Murray, who skipped the French Open with a bad back, ran his record to 2-6, having lost to Djokovic in January's Australian Open final.

Murray had to battle back in the third set after an early break, then had some tense moments again the final game, trying to serve it out at 5-4.

He needed four match points to do it.

When a questioner suggested that last game was quite difficult for the crowd watching, Murray quipped, "Imagine playing it."

"I can't believe I managed to do it ... that last game very challenging," Murray said. "Probably hardest points I've had to play in my life."

After the victory, Murray climbed into his player's box to hug, among others, coach ivan Lendl.

"This one is especially for Lendl as well because he did everything to try to win this one so I hope he enjoyed it," Murray said.

In addition to the trophy, Murray earned 1.6 million pounds ($2.4 million) and got that long-awaited invitation to the black-tie champion's dinner, set for later Sunday night.

"It was a privilege to watch @Andy_Murray making history at #Wimbledon, and making Britain proud," tweeted prime minister David Cameron.

Other fans in high places took notice.

"I can confirm," a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said, "that the Queen has sent a private message to Andy Murray following his Wimbledon victory."

 

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