Andy Murray described the dramatic conclusion to his Wimbledon triumph yesterday as the hardest points he had ever played.
Murray ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s singles champion with a 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 victory over world No 1 Novak Djokovic.
The 26-year-old Scot, who lost in a tearful Wimbledon final against Roger Federer 12 months ago, became the country’s first male winner since Fred Perry in 1936.
Murray squandered three championship points and survived three break points in a tense final game before finally taking the title at the fourth attempt.
And the world No 2, whose only other major crown came at the US Open last year, admitted the pressure of closing out the win was almost unbearable.
“Probably the hardest few points I’ve ever had to play in my life,” said Murray.
“I have played Novak many times and when everyone finishes playing, he will go down as one of the fighters.
“He did the same today and that is what made it tough. I understand how much everyone wanted to see a British winner at Wimbledon and I hope everyone enjoyed it.”
Murray was keen to pay tribute to Ivan Lendl who has been his coach since last year.
“He believed in me when a lot of people didn’t,” Murray said of his coach, who won eight grand slams, but not Wimbledon, during his playing career.
“He stuck by me through some tough losses the last couple of years.
“He’s been very patient with me. I’m just happy I managed to do it for him.”
Murray said that the arrival of Lendl has helped mature him both on and off the court with the Czech adding crucial tweaks to his game rather than insisting on a major overhaul.
It has had the desired effect for a player who lost his first four grand slam finals – at the 2008 US Open, the 2010 and 2011 Australian Opens and his tearful defeat to Federer at Wimbledon last year.
“He’s made me learn more from the losses that I’ve had than maybe I did in the past,” he said. “I think he’s always been very honest with me. He’s always told me exactly what he thought. And in tennis, it’s not always that easy to do in a player/coach relationship.
“The player is sometimes the one in charge. I think sometimes coaches are not always that comfortable doing that. But he’s been extremely honest with me.
“If I work hard, he’s happy. If I don’t, he’s disappointed, and he’ll tell me.
“Last year after the final he told me he was proud of the way I played because I went for it when I had chances. It was the first time I played like that in a grand slam final.”
Djokovic, who lost in straight sets at a grand slam for the first time since the semi-finals at Wimbledon three years ago, praised Murray.
“It wasn’t easy. Andy deserves the win, he played incredible tennis. Congratulations to him and his whole team and the country, I know what it means to you all,” said the Serbian.
“It makes the success even bigger as I am aware of the pressure he gets. There are always lots of expectations on him to win this tournament. It’s a great achievement.” While reluctant to look for explanations for his defeat, Djokovic did acknowledge he had still been feeling the effects of his epic five-set semi-final victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Friday, which at four hours, 44 minutes was the longest men’s last-four encounter in Wimbledon history.
“It took a lot out of me,” he said. “I cannot look for excuses but, yes, the previous match went almost five hours, five sets.
“I’ve been in these situations before. I felt OK but maybe physically I didn’t have enough gas in the important moments. I went for my shots more than usual. OK, that’s life. You have to move on.
“It was a very long match for three sets today. But the bottom line is that he was a better player in the decisive moments.”
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