The Last time a German male won Wimbledon was 22 years ago, a Dutchman 17 years back, a Frenchman 67 years back , a Serbian just 2 years from now, a Swiss 1 year back and a Britisher ? – 77 years ..hold your tongues you incurable British Bashers!!!…. its just one day back. Wimbledon, at last, has a native King. Not quite an Englishman, but close enough.
For a proud nation which has invented many a sport, it was becoming too much of a cross to bear. Year after year, they pinned their hopes on a hier apparent , only to taste disappontment and look forward to the next suitor. None of them were even average, Henman came closest but in the era of Sampras, all others had little chance. Desperation also led to a Canadian import in Greg Rusedski, obviously to no avail. Haley’s comet came around faster tahn a British champion.
And then from 2008 this Scottish kid provided hope. Seemingly having all the skills to combat the best in the business, he seemed just right m for the job. And so the media got behind him. Year after year the hopes rose, 3 times he reached the semi finals and then last year he seemed the best player in the tournament as he stormed into the finals and had the great Federer on his knees for a set and half. But something broke and it was Deja Vu for the nation once again. Murray’s tears at the presentation ceremony were more a result of the “Tendulkaresque” burden of expectation on him. Probably God did not want an English champion , thought the Poms.
But this is where the braveheart differed from his predecesors. With a strong work ethic and nerves of steel (having ice man Ivan Lendl in his team obviously helped), he ripped out Djokovik and Federer to win the Olympic Gold – that too within a month of his draining Winmbledon loss. Then he proceeded to get the Grand Slam monkey off his back , by winning the US Open. This year coming into Wimbledon, he was up for it mentally and physically. Having skipped the French Open due to a minor injury, he was fresher than his peers. Nadal and Federer being dumped out in the initial round added further fuel to the fire burning within the soul of a nation. They sensed this could be the year.
The support for Murray this year was unprecedented and they willed him through a gruelling quarterfinal and a tricky semi final. But in the final Murray showed why he belonged – Outserving, Out hitting and Outlasting the Djoker in straight sets. Murray was almost Nadal like in his retrieving, always forcing Novak to hit the extra shot. His forehand crosscourts were telling , even more effective than the Del Potro bazooka, that Novak just about withstood in the semi final. On the service return he took more chances and blasted more winners than Djokovic. The supremely fit Djokovic was the one making the mistakes in the long rallies, seemingly not having the legs to stay in them and going for too much on his shots. But doubts crept up once again like an unrelenting bad dream as Murray served for the championship. He squandered 2 match points and gave Djokovic the opportunity to break. Would it be heartbreak again for the nation?
Thankfully not this time. Some inspired tennis in an incredible final game which saw 4 deuces, saw Murray forcing the final error and letting Britain breathe a sigh of relief.
Mission accomplished, Murray can afford to let down his guard, with a well earned glass of the finest Scotch but not for long I would think. Pray tell me, when was it that you last had an English World No 1 in Men’s Tennis?