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. Please take it, 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 representatives of those thousands that were gathered on the, soon to be unofficially renamed, Henman Hill just outside the stadium and the millions more who were watching all over the globe. 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 in this most public of stages.
Murray won Wimbledon, today. He did so in a match containing but one game that approached the level of Djokovic – del Potro, one of this years semis, and not a single second that matched the level of that illustrious final of 2008, when gravel-specialist Nadal ended the reign of the best player ever.
That match was a five hour spectacle, the exhilarating end of a trilogy, but both endings made their attendants explode and there were more similarities. Both winners ran faster than their heads could process, beating someone intrinsically better, but most of all, they were both supposed to go like so. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and even the crowd, all knew that this was how it was supposed to go, 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 (‘36, red.). 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 achievements. 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 an awful match today, but they deserved it.