Murray won Wimbledon today. “It was a wonderful match!”, cried the old man handing him the trophy. He was lying.
Seemingly effortlessly he discarded those first three championship points. Then Novak Djokovic, the undisputed number one tennis player of the world, granted the struggling Andy Murray from Dunblande (Scotland) a fourth one. It was as if to say: ‘Come on now, lad. We both know this is your moment. Take it, son! I had plenty already.”
A few instants later the air was ripped apart by a roar like they’ve never heard before. It was the moment they’d all been waiting for. A year earlyer, after winning the US Open, his first Grand Slam, Murray was so overwhelmed that he didn’t know how to react. But not at this moment, right now he knew exactly what to do.
Immediately after winning that last point, Murray turned to the crowd. Not to that special box with his blood bound loved ones, but to his fans in the stands, the thousands on ‘Henman Hill’ and the millions in front of screens around the world. First he gave them his racket, soon followed by his tears. He then remembered to shake his opponents hand before his knees gave away, an intensely private moment on this most public of stages.
Tennis-technically Murray’s win was pretty awful. It definitely never approached the level of that illustrious final of 2008 between Nadal and Federer. That was a 5 hour spectacle, the exhilarating end of a trilogy in which gravel-specialist Nadal beat the best (grass)player ever. There were some similarities though. Both winners ran faster than their legs could carry them, both played sharper then their heads could process and both beat someone intrinsically better. But most of all, both were supposed to go like so, making their crowds explode for the inevitable end of an era.
Change was also what Fred Perry, Wimbledon’s last victorious male Brit, had in mind after winning Wimbledon for a third straight time (1936). Disillusioned by the class conscious nature of Britain’s tennis federation, working class Perry immediately turned pro and moved to America. In reaction, the Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain waited 50 years to recognize Perry’s extraordinary achievement. They had to wait another 29 before they were forgiven by his spirit.
So on the 7th of the 7th, 77 years after their last male victor, not so Great Britain finally got their desperately awaited male Wimbledon winner. They had to applaud Americans, Frenchmen, a bunch of Germans and even an Egyptian before they finally did Andy. He won a horrible match today, but they deserved it.