Murray Secures Maiden Grand Slam Title in Epic Circumstances

Posted on September 11, 2012

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written by Robert Pollard for the Huffington Post

The 76 year wait for a British winner of a men’s Grand Slam tennis event is over. Under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, Andy Murray won a quite breathtaking 5 set final against Novak Djokovic at the US Open, winning 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in 4 hours 54 minutes. Murray’s first major title was delivered in the context of one the finest tennis matches of recent times, ending Djokovic’s run of 27 straight wins in Grand Slam matches played on a hard court.

This is a final which will go down in tennis history after a series of rallies up there with the best ever witnessed. The quality of tennis was mezmerising, with both players producing their best on the biggest stage available. Murray took the first set 7-6, winning a thrilling tie-break 12-10 with his fifth set point, with the drama of that set setting the tone for the rest of the match.

Murray raced to a 4-0 lead in the second, before Djokovic upped his game and brought the set back on serve. The balance of power was ebbing and flowing before Murray eventually took it 7-5, going two sets to love ahead and looking a safe bet for victory. However, everybody in tennis knows Novak Djokovic can never be written off, and the world number 2 was not about to surrender his title with a whimper.

The Serbian has carved a glittering career out of his ability to fight back, constantly asking questions of his opponent; never knowing when he is beaten. He began dictating play and Murray was struggling to stay with him. He took the third 6-2 and then levelled the match at two sets all after winning the fourth 6-3. Momentum in any sport can swing but in tennis it shifts dramatically and that’s exactly what had happened here. Djokovic was in the ascendency.

Just as the nation was beginning to doubt the prospect of a Murray win, he delivered a monumental final set performance that clinched the title, taking it 6-2. The Scot could barely walk up to collect the trophy at the end of the match such was the energy he had expended in sealing the victory. In an on court interview after the match, the 2012 US Open champion said: “I don’t know how I came through it in the end. I just managed to get through it”.

The US Open is often criticised for its scheduling but the drama and atmosphere this tournament can produce during night sessions is amazing. After bad weather had delayed matches over the weekend, this final was played a day later than planned but the stadium was full of fans enthralled at what they were seeing. The whole world was captivated. This night will live long in the memory of British and non-British tennis fans alike.

The win sees Murray move up to world number 3 after a summer in which he made his first appearance in a Wimbledon final, took Olympic Gold in London after crushing Roger Federer, and now win his maiden Grand Slam title. No one can deny Murray deserves his success, with very few players having to endure as much disappointment as he has. This was his fifth major final, having taken only one set in any of his previous four attempts. His coach, Ivan Lendl, who was brought in to alter Murray’s mindset and make him a champion, also needed five attempts to win one, and his appointment now looks like a masterstroke from Murray.

It felt before the match as though another defeat in a major final would be too much for Murray to take; as if this was a vital point his career. The pressure of becoming the first man to lose his first five Grand Slam finals could have been too much to recover from. Now, the tennis world expects further majors from a man who no longer feels inferior to anyone. Whereas Federer, Rafa Nadal and Djokovic had all won their first major title by beating players who had never won a Slam before, Murray has done it the hard way. In the finest era in men’s tennis history, Andy Murray has become US Open champion, an achievement which cannot be underestimated.

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Posted in: Tennis