Seventy-seven years of pain were wiped away in just over three hours on Sunday as Andy Murray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon title since 1936 with a stunning 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 victory over world No 1, Novak Djokovic.
As Djokovic’s final backhand hit the net and fell back on his own side, Murray dropped his racket in disbelief before celebrating in front of his support box.
The 26-year-old Scot dominated the first set, recovered from 4–1 down in the second and 4–2 down in the third to win his second grand slam title, having beaten the Serb at the US Open last September but lost to him in the final of the Australian Open in January.
On a sultry day with temperatures approaching 30C, Murray played smart, courageous and seemingly nerveless tennis to go one better than 12 months ago, when he was beaten by Roger Federer.
Djokovic went into the final as the slight favourite but Murray had won their only previous meeting on grass, in the semi-finals of the Olympics last summer. When the first rally of the match lasted 20 shots, it seemed like the match would be another epic battle but in the first set, Djokovic made a number of uncharacteristic errors on his groundstrokes to allow Murray to settle.
The crowd inside Centre Court were roaring everything the world No 2 did and though he dropped serve immediately after breaking in the third game, Murray lifted his game to break for 4-3. The next game was crucial as Murray saved three break points to consolidate the break and after Djokovic held, Murray served out for the set with ease.
Djokovic was trying to wind himself up at the start of the second set and his greater aggression was rewarded with the break in the fourth game as he raced to a 4-1 lead. With the sun glaring down, Murray put on a hat and suddenly hit back, taking advantage of a Djokovic double fault to break and then saved two break points to level at 4-4. At 5-5, Murray ramped up the pressure and broke before serving out for a two-sets lead.
When he broke in the opening game of the third and led 2-0, 0-30 on the Djokovic serve, he seemed moments away from victory. But as he has done so many times, the Serb rallied in adversity, winning four straight games to lead 4-2, helped by some brilliant drop shots.
But Murray was not done and after breaking back for 4-3, he repeated the feat two games later, thanks to two brilliant running forehand passes.
Serving for the title, he led 40-0 but Djokovic saved them all. The Serb forced two break points but Murray saved them and then on his fourth Championship point, the Scot clinched victory when Djokovic netted a backhand.