Andy Murray creates history beating Djokovic in New York epic
Murray looks bewildered after he finally overcomes Novak Djokovic in gruelling five-hour US Open final
HE’S ONLY gone and done it! Andy Murray has ended Britain’s 76-year wait for a men’s Grand Slam title by defeating Novak Djokovic to win the US Open final.
It was an epic match, one that had 82-year-old Sean Connery dancing in the stands and Kevin Spacey roaring for all his worth. They and everyone else in the Arthur Ashe Stadium found themselves caught up in the occasion as Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win one of the big ones in tennis.
At the end of the thrilling five-hour encounter Murray looked stunned, unable to be believe that he had just defeated the reigning champion 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 to cap a remarkable season.
Wimbledon finalist, Olympic gold medallist and now US Open champion, Murray will never have another year like it and as he lifted the trophy it was hard to believe that the last time a British man was in his position – Fred Perry in 1936 - Edward VIII was fooling around with Mrs Simpson.
“Everyone’s in a bit of shock, to be honest,” Murray said afterwards. “I’m sorry if I’m not showing it as you would like.” Later, when he’d composed himself, the 25-year-old Scot told reporters he was in no doubt “of how big a moment that is in British tennis history.”
It was a big moment for him, too. Murray has lost his four previous Open finals and only his present coach, Ivan Lendl, can match such a losing streak in the modern era. A fifth defeat might well have sent Murray to the funny farm.
No need for that now. Murray is a Grand Slam champion, words he’ll be repeating to himself over and over in the coming days as the enormity of what he’s achieved sinks in.
It was another spiteful day in New York, the wind whipping across the court and creating testing conditions for both men. Murray coped best at first, though Djokovic fought tooth and nail to defend his title. One rally in the 90-minute first set lasted 54 shots but Murray eventually took it on a tie-break before winning the second set 7-5 with a mix of sliced backhands, drop shots and stinging forehand drives.
Back came Djokovic in the third, showing the grit of a champion as Murray struggled to regain his focus. Backhand errors began creeping into the Scot’s game as the Serb took the set 6-2. Murray was now clutching his leg, muttering to himself, and his opponent sensed he was there for the taking.
So it seemed to the crowd as Djokovic won the fourth set 6-3. If he knew his tennis history the Serb would have been aware that not since Pancho Gonzales in 1949 has a man rallied from two sets down to win the US Open title.
Murray’s followers could barely watch. Surely he wasn’t going to let victory slip through his grasp once again? No. He came out at the start of the fifth like a man in a rush for a date with destiny. Murray broke Djokovic in game one and the Serb never recovered his rhythm.
Murray it was who served for the match at 5-2, winning the first three points before Djokovic pulled it back to 40-15. Murray first serve was a fault but his second cramped his opponent who sent his forehand long. Game, Set and Match to Murray - but he didn’t look like a man making history.
Squatting on his haunches, his hands over his mouth, the Briton looked bewildered. Djokovic hopped over the net and embraced his friend. "I'm disappointed to lose, but I gave it my all," he said later. "I had a great opponent today. He deserved to win this Grand Slam more than anybody.”