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One Giant Leap for Andy Murray

It wasn’t always pretty, but the wait is over. 76 years to the day had passed since the last British man won a major tournament. I for one look forward to not hearing the names Fred Perry and Bunny Austin again, or at least not until Wimbledon. Murray’s ability has never been questioned since he won the junior US open title at the age of 17. His ability to compete with the top three players has been in doubt however, until now. His gold medal in London just a few weeks ago saw him destroy both Djokovic and Roger Federer and reinstate the belief that Murray belongs at the top, competing for the big prizes of the sport.

Andy Murray finally looked at home on the big stage and his status in the game is now sealed after he came out victorious in an epic encounter against one of his greatest rivals, Novak Djokovic. Murray started the better of the two players as the wind seemed to hinder Djokovic, who struggled to find any rhythm in the opening exchanges. A gruelling first set was taken by Murray after an hour and twenty minutes – it certainly wasn’t at the same standard of some of the finals we’ve seen before between Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, but it was no less exciting or nerve wracking.

The second set was more of the same as the wind played havoc with both players. Murray took an early 4-0 lead and looked to have gained confidence by taking the first set in a tense tie-break which lasted more than 20 minutes. However, with nothing left to lose, Djokovic opened up and started hitting those trademark groundstrokes and running every single Murray shot down. When Djokovic broke back to make it 4-1, you knew that this match was far from over. Murray did well to stay focused and eventually take the second set 7-5 but the momentum was shifting and Djokovic imposed himself early on in the third. Murray was in new territory as he had never previously won more than a single set in his previous four grand slam finals. A combination of Murray’s nerves and Djokovic’s determination saw Murray surrender the third and fourth sets, 6-2 and 6-3 respectively.

It looked as though the wait for a British male grand slam winner would have to continue. It was always going to be difficult for the Serb after leaving himself so much to do and the size of the task was ultimately too big, even for the world number two. It was a gruelling match lasting four hours and fifty four minutes before Murray finally prevailed 6-2 in the fifth set. British tennis has the winner it has desired for so long and you sense that these two players may have a few grand slam finals left in them. With Federer still going strong and Nadal still to come back from an injury plagued season, the future of tennis looks very bright. Murray’s victory concludes a great summer for British sport and British tennis as Laura Robson reached the second week of a grand slam for the first time. Let’s hope that this win has lifted some of that pressure we have all spoken of and Andy can go on to win many more grand slam titles.

Yannick Mitchell

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