Major Murray! Grand Slam glory for Andy after one of history's greatest matches

By Mike Dickson

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It was a celestial wind that blew Andy Murray to a magnificent victory in the US Open, perhaps blown from Fred Perry somewhere on high down on the country he ended up calling home.

From some source - who knows what? - Murray found the momentum to take a dramatic deciding set with a monumental display of guts when it had looked like his legs were going to buckle.

Just champion: Andy Murray has made history with victory in the US Open final over Novak Djokovic

Just champion: Andy Murray has made history with victory in the US Open final over Novak Djokovic

Epic: Murray sealed his glory with a kiss after a match which fell a minute short of the longest ever US Open final
Epic: Murray sealed his glory with a kiss after a match which fell a minute short of the longest ever US Open fina

Epic: Murray sealed glory with a kiss after a match which fell a minute short of the longest ever US Open final

Epic: Murray sealed his glory with a kiss after a match which fell a minute short of the longest ever US Open final
 

This time he was too tired to cry, he could barely walk. History will record it as a minor detail that the 25-year-old Scot, like Perry something of an outsider, just about handled the prevailing gusts better than his old rival Novak Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam title.

Far more important is the fact that Perry’s ghost may have exhaled its last breath in its haunting of British tennis, with the 76-year wait to find his successor as a major winner finally at an end.

That finally came to pass as New York was brought to its feet when Djokovic blasted a final return long, the two men embracing at the net. It concluded a wildly undulating, gripping 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory that took four hours and 54 minutes.

Disbelieving: Murray's reaction was one of wonder and amazement as he dropped to his haunches

Disbelieving: Murray's reaction was one of wonder and amazement as he dropped to his haunches

Welcome to the club, pal: Djokovic was gracious in defeat and hailed his old friend's achievement

Welcome to the club, pal: Djokovic was gracious in defeat and hailed his old friend's achievement

HOW THE FINAL UNFOLDED

Set 1: Andy Murray got off to a perfect start in the opening game, breaking Novak Djokovic's serve. Although he was broken straight back, he edged 4-2 ahead only to be pegged back once again. A marathon tie-break ensued which the Scot won 12-10.

Set 2: Murray was cruising at 4-0 up and the champagne was being readied, even at this early stage. But Djokovic was not going to let up and stormed back to level at 5-5 only for Murray to find another gear to win the set 7-5.

Set 3: Anyone who thought Djokovic was down and out was quickly put in their place as he grabbed an early break. The Serbian did not let his advantage slip and a second break sealed the set 6-2.

Set 4: It was Djokovic who made the early breakthrough again in this set as he took the match by the scruff of the net. Murray was always playing catchup and his great friend and rival came up with the big points when it mattered to win this session 6-3.

Set 5: An incredible show of resilience from the Scot in the decider as he broke in the first game. A double break soon followed and although he gifted one back, a third break of serve proved to be enough as he finally, gloriously, tasted Grand Slam success.

Murray said: ‘It was incredibly tough conditions. After the third and fourth set it was tough mentally. Novak is so strong, he fights until the end in every match. I don’t know how I came through in the end.

‘Ivan Lendl has been one of the greatest players that ever played, it has been great to have him helping me in the tense moments, not just him but everyone who has been here from the start .’

In front of Scottish knights Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Sean Connery, Murray met with the destiny that had been denied him four times before, and there will be those who believe the younger man now deserves the same prefix.

The biggest set of Murray’s life, the fifth, began with the momentum in the defending champion’s favour, but Murray, who in sets three and four had drifted into the back court, showed new purpose and secured the break.

The Djokovic fightback further had its sting drawn when Murray consolidated the break for 2-0, the athleticism of the two players belying the the four-and-a-quarter hours they had played.

Suddenly the Serb started to miss again and, when a forehand was sent limply into the net, Murray was two breaks to the good.

Stunning: Both players had to contest with high winds early on, but Flushing Meadows still looked beautiful

Stunning: Both players had to contest with high winds early on, but Flushing Meadows still looked beautiful

Stunning: Both players had to contest with high winds early on, but Flushing Meadows still looked beautiful

Reaching for the top: At times Djokovic seemed out on his feet but he kept on fighting for each point

Reaching for the top: At times Djokovic seemed out on his feet but he kept on fighting for each point

Eyes on the prize: Murray, too, wobbled when seemingly comfortable, but regained his full focus

Eyes on the prize: Murray, too, wobbled when seemingly comfortable, but regained his full focus

But then that jaw-jutting, proud Djokovic pout returned, skidding around the court to pull back to 3-2 down. When the Scot easily held for 4-2 to deafening acclaim, we started to see the Serb crack physically, his legs going into cramp.

Djokovic called the trainer on for a rub of his thighs while the crowd booed and Murray waited to serve. The legs went again, though, and Murray’s path to glory was cleared, serving it out superbly, courageously to 15.

Anyone who saw the opening-set tiebreak would have been glad they did, not that the passages before it were shabby in view of the conditions.

Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects
Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects

Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects

Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects
Famous faces: There was no shortage of interest from the usual, and not so usual, suspects

With the wind cascading down the steep banks of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Murray’s gale force win against Berdych was proving perfect preparation, but even when he wriggled ahead to 4-2 Djokovic kept snapping away.

With risk management to the fore, one rally took a staggering 54 strokes to complete before Murray capitulated. By the time the tiebreak was forced it was the British player holding on, as he was obliged to do at 5-3 down in the shootout, with American umpire Jake Garner demanding the boisterous crowd calm down.

Then came the first five set points, the loss of which would have been a spear to the heart. Three of them were spurned with nervous jabs either wide or, on the easiest first one, a backhand driven into the net. The two others were purely down to the Balkan warrior, with an ace taking it to 10-10.

Tit for tat: There were occasions when both players seemed to let the occasion get to them
Tit for tat: There were occasions when both players seemed to let the occasion get to them

Tit for tat: There were occasions when both players seemed to let the occasion get to them

But another groundstroke from the world No 2 went long and this time Murray, steadying himself as the breeze ruffled his shirt, pulled out a first serve which Djokovic sent beyond the baseline.

Tellingly the Scot had stepped up the power and cut his margin for error in the last few points.

Though he would never show it, old stoneface Lendl will have been doing cartwheels inside. The tiebreak’s duration would have taken you much of the way to half-time in a football match, the whole first set had taken 87 minutes and the points tally in it was 46-44.

Tricky times: Murray and Djokovic had to find that little bit extra as they teetered on the brink of despair

Tricky times: Murray and Djokovic had to find that little bit extra as they teetered on the brink of despair

Tricky times: Murray and Djokovic had to find that little bit extra as they teetered on the brink of despair

There was going be a psychological backdraft from it, and this time Murray was able drive on, as we have only seen him do in the Olympic final among the biggest matches of his career.

With Djokovic starting to wear a rueful grin the first four games were won, and even after ceding a break it was 5-3. A horrible, error-strewn bid to close it down came to nothing and the Serb was believing again with the purpose that has seen him win five Grand Slams.

Murray was now intermittently grabbing his thigh, signalling tension-induced cramp. With the two and half hour mark looming after less than two sets that was an ominous warning with the threat of an attritional war coming on.

Court coverage: The athleticism of both men was awesome, with rallies lasting more than 30 shots

Court coverage: The athleticism of both men was awesome, with rallies lasting more than 30 shots

Drama to the last: With one game to go, Djokovic, who had seized up, called for a medical time out

Drama to the last: With one game to go, Djokovic, who had seized up, called for a medical time out

But a difference between this year and last for Djokovic is his shifting focus and at 6-5 he pulled out a hideous wide smash, which was followed by a dragged forehand to give Murray the biggest break of his career.

What he has not forgotten is how to fight and, cutting his error count to virtually nothing and serving better, came back ferociously to take the third and fourth sets,  before the strain of pulling level led to a sensational conclusion.

WHY MURRAY'S WIN WAS NEVER IN DOUBT

The omens were good. Fred Perry (below) was the last British man to win a major, the 1936 US Open, and three years earlier broke his  Grand Slam duck at the tournament...  on September 10.

The only other British winner of the US Open was Laurence Doherty in 1903 - after winning Olympic gold at the 1900 Paris Games, just as Murray did in London.

Fred J. Perry


 

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Well done Andy a great Match and a great win I enjoyed every minute of it. Wimbledon Final, Gold Medal at the Olympics and now your first Grand Slam win in the US Open. You have made all your supporters in Great Britain very proud this Year. I am sure there will be many youngsters here picking up racquets to follow in your footsteps and win Tennis Tournaments. Good Luck in London in November Andy I will be looking forward to watching some more great Tennis from You.

Click to rate     Rating   7

I said I would be looking forward to the hater comments when he won his first slam as I enjoy a good laugh and I see they haven't disappointed. Andy Murray's won a slam. You said he'd never do it and he did. Now, soak it up and move along because you're just boring now.

Click to rate     Rating   9

Actually Murray has won 1 out of the last 1 grand slam. Current US Open champion, Olympic Champion and Wimbledon Runner Up. The reality is Murray is on the way up, and whilst Nadal and Fed are legends of tennis, they are both on more a downward spiral. Nadal due to injury and Fed due to age. Murray will win a good few more majors. Now back in your box. - Scotland For Ever, Edinburgh, 11/9/2012 12:24 I was just putting it into perspective that Murray is not a great yet, he may become one but at the moment his achievement of winning the Open puts him on par with these 3 Thomas Johansson, Albert Costa & Gaston Gaudio (who a lot of people haven't heard of. He may win a few more majors but there's no guarantee that he will so can't see how you're so confident. I m sorry but he's not in the same league as those 3 yet. He might get there but unlikely.

Click to rate     Rating   13

I'm sick to death of reading negative Scotland v England quips as if it's some kind of competition. Of course Scotland rightly has it's own identity, [I'm sure Andy is very proud of his heritage] but so does Wales, Northern Ireland, CI, IOM and whether you like it or not, they're all part of the UK. I couldn't care two hoots where a player was born as long as they give of their best on court and to the country they represent. . Our champion Andy was born in Scotland, he represents the UK, chooses to live in Surrey and has a home in Miami. He truly deserved to win the trophy on Sunday. Also credit to Novak Djokovic, also a great player who was so gracious in defeat.

Click to rate     Rating   17

Andy Murray is a deserved and likeable champion!! And so is Djokovic who was a brave and gracious loser on the day!

Click to rate     Rating   27

Well done andy.Id say all the tiger timmy chummy chappies are choking on their ribena.great stuff.

Click to rate     Rating   10

Djokovic let that one slide, because lets face it, he's won a few, along with Nadal and Federer.

Click to rate     Rating   23

YOUR HEADLINE TODAY IS PLAIN WRONG. CONGRATULATIONS TO ANDY MURRAY BUT ... PLEASE APOLOGISE TO SUE BARKER WHO WON A GRAND SLAM FOR BRITAIN IN 1976 !! Edna B, Glasgow

Click to rate     Rating   3

Fantastic result for Murray winning 2012 US Open. It has been a long journey and it seems there are many of us that have joined him on this journey or perhaps identified with him as an example of the strength of the human spirit to never give up the fight. Murray is an inspiration to many that feel that at times when life can be an uphill climb but perseverance and a self belief amongst the doubters will always win out in the end.

Click to rate     Rating   14

Brilliant orange from Auckland.... You are so right the English have won nothing... The Olympics and tour de France were so disappointing after all......

Click to rate     Rating   3

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