Murray caps Britain's golden sports summer

Associated Press
2012 U.S. Open tennis men's singles champion Andy Murray, of Britain, poses in Central Park on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
.

View gallery

LONDON (AP) — First came the victory in the Tour de France. Then there were the stacks of medals at a dazzling Olympics at home.

If that weren't enough to lift the country's spirits, Britain basked in another milestone Tuesday to cap this magical sports summer.

Yes, at long last, after 76 years of wait and frustration, Britain has a men's Grand Slam tennis champion.

Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic in five sets in the U.S. Open final, giving Britain yet one more reason to wave the flag again. The feel-good glow began with national celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's "Diamond Jubilee" of 60 years on the throne and peaked during the last six weeks of Olympic and Paralympic fervor.

Murray's victory — completed while most of Britain was asleep — came just hours after more than 1 million people lined the streets of London to cheer the nation's Olympians and Paralympians in a two-hour parade marking the end of the 2012 Games.

"The forecast ... was made yesterday that the great summer of British sport was over, but he's given us another immense prize to wake up to," Prime Minister David Cameron said.

After losing in four previous Grand Slam finals, Murray outlasted defending champion Djokovic 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 after nearly five hours on Monday to become the first British man to win a Slam since Fred Perry captured the Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships in 1936.

Finally, the "Fred Perry curse" has been broken — although until Murray wins Wimbledon, it won't be fully put to rest.

"Thank God that's over. Thank God we can let Fred Perry lie easy. Thank God for Andy Murray," wrote the Guardian newspaper website.

Like Tim Henman before him, Murray had been dogged by the weight of expectations of the British public and media and the never-ending questions over when the Grand Slam drought would finally be broken.

"Now they won't ask me that stupid question any more" read the back page headline Tuesday in London's Evening Standard.

What a past few months it has been for Britain in the arena.

Chelsea won the Champions League. Bradley Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France. Rory McIroy won the PGA Championship by a record eight shots and established himself as golf's dominant player.

Above all, London hosted a hugely successful Olympics and Paralympics that captivated the country. Britain recorded its best Olympic showing in 104 years with 29 gold medals (including Murray in singles) and 65 medals in all. Britain celebrated the close of the Paralympics on Sunday after winning 120 medals, including 34 gold.

Now, Murray has become the first man to win the U.S. Open and Olympic gold in the same year.

"I'm absolutely delighted for him," Cameron said. "It's a huge achievement. For 76 years Britain has waited for a Grand Slam win in tennis and Andy has done it in huge style."

The victory came on the exact day — Sept. 10 — that Perry won the U.S. title in 1936. It also came in Murray's fifth Grand Slam final, following in the footsteps of his no-nonsense coach, Ivan Lendl, who lost in his first four Grand Slam finals before going on to win eight major titles.

For years, Murray has been considered just a rung below the "Big Three" of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, who had shared 29 of the previous 30 major titles. Now he's joined the club and Britain is rejoicing.

Nowhere was the impact felt more deeply than in his Scottish hometown of Dunblane, a cathedral town and site of a mass shooting in 1996. Murray was 8 when a gunman opened fire at his elementary school, killing 16 children and a teacher. He didn't witness the actual carnage, but hid under a desk in the headmaster's study.

A noisy crowd of about 80 people packed into the bar at the Dunblane Hotel to watch the U.S. Open final that ended shortly after 2 a.m. British time. After Djokovic hit a forehand service return long on match point, the crowd erupted in cheers and chants of "There's only one Andy Murray.'"

"Andy is Dunblane's hero, not just Dunblane, the whole of Scotland and the rest of Britain," 63-year-old Gavin Noland told reporters at the bar.

Referring to Dunblane's shooting tragedy, 62-year-old Dave Whitton said: "It's a town where things have happened, but this brings a moment of joy and happiness instead of other things that have happened."

Murray's uncle, Neill Erskine, said he received a text message from Murray thanking the family for their support.

"There are a huge mixture of emotions in the family — pride, relief, excitement," he said.

Murray's grandparents, Roy and Shirley Erskine, were among those who stayed up late to watch the match. His grandmother recalled his rambunctious ways as a child.

"He had a temper on him and would always stamp his foot and say, 'I've got to do better, I've got to do better.' But he focused that eventually and used his energy to play tennis," she said.

Murray did most of his tennis training as a youth in Barcelona but remains fiercely loyal to his Scottish roots. Two other famous Scots — actor Sean Connery and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson — were among those in the stands cheering him on at Flushing Meadows.

"Now Olympic and U.S. Open champion, Andy truly is a Scottish sporting legend and I'm certain that more Grand Slam titles will follow," Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said.

The end of the match came too late for many British newspapers, but Murray's triumph made some late editions.

"History Boy!" blared the tabloid Daily Mirror on the front page. On the sports pages, the Mirror launched a campaign for a Murray knighthood: "Arise Sir Andy: Grand Slam Glory at Last. Oh What a Knight."

British TV stations camped out early Tuesday at the modest Dunblane tennis courts where Murray got his start as a young boy, interviewing youngsters who said they were inspired by his triumph.

Murray and Lendl are the two men in the Open era, which began in 1968, to have lost their first four Grand Slam finals. Murray fell to Djokovic in the 2011 Australian Open, and against Federer at the 2008 U.S. Open, 2010 Australian Open and this year's Wimbledon.

It was Murray's decisive, straight-sets victory over Federer in the Olympic final in August on Centre Court at Wimbledon — less than a month after the Wimbledon defeat — that lifted his belief in himself and provided the platform for his Grand Slam success.

"Ever since he won the Olympics he has walked around with a lot more confidence," said Murray's former coach, Leon Smith. "After winning yesterday, it's going to do even more so now."

Former British player and U.S. Open finalist Greg Rusedski said Murray can only go higher.

"Having won this, he can go on to win many majors and maybe end the year as ... No. 1," he said.

Murray is ranked No. 4 but is close behind No. 3 Nadal. Djokovic is No. 1 in this week's rankings, with Federer dropping to No. 2.

"We are all delighted for Andy," Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook said. "Winning your first Grand Slam has to be a very special moment in a player's career, and it was a fantastic performance in an epic final to cap a truly memorable summer of tennis for him personally, and for British tennis."

Next challenge: Winning Wimbledon and ending the Fred Perry questions for good.

___

Follow Stephen Wilson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Melania Trump stuns in first lady fashion stakes

      First Lady Melania Trump stunned fashion watchers by donning a sleek, off-the-shoulder cream dress with a daring thigh-high slit to dance with President Donald Trump at the inaugural balls. The new first lady's sartorial picks for the inauguration went some way to silencing critics who have complained in the past that she favored high-end European clothes rather than American creations.

      AFP
    • Inauguration crowds are looking puny compared to Women's March crowds

      Sorry, Trump, but these Women's March crowds are YUGE. Ladies from around the world got in formation to take part in the Women's March on Washington following Trump's inauguration, and the crowds are downright bigly. With attendance projections for the D.C. March now at over 500,000, many can't help but compare today's attendance to Friday's underwhelming inauguration numbers. SEE ALSO: Who pulled the bigger crowd: Trump or Obama? While hundreds of thousands did show up to watch Trump be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, visible empty bleachers and photos of Obama's packed 2009 inauguration ceremony,which had an estimated turnout of around 1.8 million, proved Trump's gathering was far from record setting. The March reportedly led to 1,000 more busses being booked than on Trump's big day, and photographs and video from today's events show D.C. bombarded with an overwhelming number of attendees. Though official inauguration numbers are unknown, the gorgeous sea of pink Pussyhats assembling at today's March certainly appeared to trump the president's crowds. If you want to see how massive the Women's March is, I'm standing at the back edge of the crowd, and I've marked the speaker's stage. pic.twitter.com/L47WgP2OuP — Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) January 21, 2017 #WomensMarch in #DC view from the roof of VOA towards #USCapitol pic.twitter.com/JBY4MAhep3 — Niki Papadogiannakis (@nikipapadog) January 21, 2017 @JoyAnnReid @puffin98 Let's compare crowd size of Trump Inauguration v D.C. Women's March...樂 Mr Trump...you can't comb over racism! pic.twitter.com/Lz9Tn8PpZp — Sissy Victor (@sissyvictor40) January 21, 2017 #WomensMarch Today vs. #Inauguration Yesterday pic.twitter.com/jFowSajc4Q — Austin Hunt (@AustinHunt) January 21, 2017 Photos of the Shady Grove Metro station currently. Hearing it's an hour wait to get on the train. O____o #WomensMarch pic.twitter.com/YOaaQ41v1s — Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 21, 2017 What the same DC Metro station looked like on Inauguration Day vs. what it looks like today pic.twitter.com/gi8GBoqni5 — Freddie Campion (@FreddieCampion) January 21, 2017 On my way to cover #WomensMarch in DC and have not seen this station this busy even at peak rush hour before. Pink everywhere. pic.twitter.com/kYhxy66ttj — Tal Kopan (@TalKopan) January 21, 2017 #WomensMarch We're not even in DC yet, and this metro station has a better crowd than the inauguration. pic.twitter.com/iXeJFqwtIJ — Emily Hecht (@emiblake) January 21, 2017 The fact that there are more people at the #WomensMarch than the #Inauguration gives me hope that we're all going to be alright. pic.twitter.com/GgNeEii2yB — David Thompson (@DavidMDT) January 21, 2017 Thanks to the National Mall Cam, a live video feed of the U.S. Capitol building, you can check out the huge crowds for yourself in real time. Inauguration Photo of Donald Trump's inauguration crowds on Jan. 20, 2017. Image: screengrab/earthcam Women's March Photo of Women's March on Washington crowds at 12:00 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2017. Image: screengrab/earthcam Uh oh, Trump. Looks like the women of the world are giving you some serious competition. BONUS: Trump's 2017 vs Obama's 2009: A brutal inaugural concert comparison

      Mashable
    • What the Sale of the Sears Craftsman Brand Means for You

      As Sears struggles to stay relevant and profitable amidst a slew of store closings and disappointing sales figures, fans of the famed Sears Craftsman brand have encountered a struggle of their ow...

      Consumer Reports
    • ESPN drops commentator over Venus Williams 'gorilla' remark

      US broadcaster ESPN has dropped commentator Doug Adler after he compared Venus Williams to a "gorilla" at the Australian Open -- although he insisted the word he used was "guerrilla". ESPN said Adler should have been more careful during his coverage of the seven-time Grand Slam-winner's win over Stefanie Voegele. "During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection," an ESPN statement said.

      AFP
    • Grown-up Paris Jackson hits her namesake city for Givenchy

      PARIS (AP) — Colorful fall-winter menswear shows in Paris mixed high culture, androgyny and streetwear, as Paris Jackson, the daughter of the late pop icon Michael Jackson, stepped out for the cameras at Givenchy's library show— fittingly in the City of Light.

      Associated Press
    • Shelby rolls out 50th anniversary Super Snake

      It was 50 years ago that Carroll Shelby and his team at Shelby American built the first Mustang-based Super Snake, a high-performance machine that started out life as a tester for Goodyear. It was based on Shelby’s original GT500 and featured the V-8 of the GT40 race car. Unfortunately, it proved so expensive that Shelby never built more than the original tester.

      MotorAuthority
    • Trump signs first executive order, targeting Obamacare with few specifics

      President Trump signed his first executive order in his redecorated Oval Office late Friday, targeting Obamacare, as his administration ordered an immediate freeze on new regulations just hours after his inauguration. Seated behind the iconic Resolute Desk, made from the timbers of a British exploration ship in the late 19th century, Trump also signed the commissions for his first two Cabinet nominees to win Senate confirmation: Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Trump was surrounded by senior aides and advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway, Hope Hicks, National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, Stephen Miller and Marc Short.

      Yahoo News
    • Louisiana Officer Shot, Killed After Stopping to Offer Help

      A Louisiana police officer was shot and killed Friday when he stopped to check on what he thought was a car accident on his way home from work.

      Tribune
    • Prosecutor: 'Dance Mom' should be imprisoned for fraud

      PITTSBURGH (AP) — A prosecutor on Friday urged a federal judge to sentence "Dance Moms" star Abby Lee Miller to prison instead of probation for bankruptcy fraud.

      Associated Press
    • Inside Edition
    • One of the largest icebergs ever seen is even closer to breaking off Antarctica

      Just 6.4 miles of ice are holding an iceberg the size of Delaware onto the floating Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, and scientists warn it could cleave off the ice-bound continent at any time. Researchers who closely monitor the crack cutting across this particular Antarctic ice shelf reported on Thursday that it continued to make rapid progress, expanding another six miles in just the past two weeks.  SEE ALSO: An iceberg the size of Delaware is about to break off Antarctica This means that a collapse may be imminent, at which point, one of the top 10 largest icebergs ever observed will break away into the turbulent seas off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.  Scientists affiliated with a group that has been tracking the ice melt in this area, known as Project MIDAS, say the iceberg could measure 5,000 square kilometers, or 1,930 square miles. The rift in the Larsen C Ice Shelf, including the 6-mile extension in the past two weeks. Image: Project midas/nasa Scientists are worried that the calving event — which refers to the breaking off of the iceberg from the ice shelf — could speed up the disintegration of the broader shelf and land-based ice that lies behind it. "When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10 percent of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula," researcher Adrian Luckman wrote in a blog post.  "We have previously shown that the new configuration will be less stable than it was prior to the rift, and that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbor Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event," Luckman wrote. Larsen B Ice Shelf prior to the breakup in 2002. Image: NASA Larsen B Ice Shelf after its breakup in 2002. Image: nasa The researchers found that the rift which had been progressing episodically across the floating ice shelf suddenly grew by 11.2 miles, or 18 kilometers, during the second half of December, leaving only 12.4 miles left connecting the iceberg to its parent ice shelf.  On Thursday, that length declined to 6.4 miles of ice remaining fully intact, which puts the ice shelf in an even more tenuous position.  Scientists are not sure exactly when the iceberg will break free, but they think it will occur soon.  The length and width of the crack in the Larsen C Ice Shelf over time. Image: Project midas "We expect that the iceberg will break free within the next few months, although it's hard to be certain about timing," Martin O'Leary, a researcher at Swansea University in the U.K. who studies the Larsen C Ice Shelf as part of the MIDAS team, told Mashable in an email on Jan. 6. Rifts like this are a natural phenomenon, but such large ones are rare, scientists say. They can destabilize larger parts of ice shelves and land-based ice sheets by exposing more ice to mild ocean waters and air temperatures. This has been happening in parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but it is not guaranteed to happen with Larsen C. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is the most northerly of the remaining major Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves. This part of Antarctica has been warming rapidly in recent years, and the shelf is being undermined from below by warming ocean waters, as well as from above by increasing air temperatures.  View is of a rift in the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen C ice shelf from our airborne survey of polar ice: https://t.co/VgjxopHHLI @NASA_ICE pic.twitter.com/gt5mpHqbxn — NASA (@NASA) December 3, 2016 In 2002, Larsen C's neighbor, known as the Larsen B Ice Shelf, disintegrated entirely after a series of similar rift-induced calving events. The Larsen B calving event was featured in the opening scenes of the sci-fi climate change-related disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow . Sea level rise implications Floating ice shelves don't raise sea levels when they disintegrate or lose large icebergs. This is because their ice is already resting in the ocean, like an ice cube in a glass.  However, because they act like doorstops to the land-based ice behind them, when the shelves give way, the land-based glaciers can start sliding into the sea in a process that's difficult (if not impossible) to stop, long-term. It adds new water to the ocean — therefore, increasing sea levels.  The entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet contains enough ice to raise global sea levels by another 10 to 15 feet if it were all to melt. This process would likely take centuries, however, though sea level rise is already accelerating worldwide as glaciers melt and ocean temperatures increase. BONUS: 2016 was Earth's warmest year on record, continuing a three-year streak

      Mashable
    • Photo gallery: First lady Melania Trump's personal style

      In body-hugging gowns and ladylike daywear, will first lady Melania Trump stay true to her personal style?

      Associated Press
    • New Documents Show Bin Laden Was Paranoid About Biological Trackers

      The declassified documents, seized by the Navy Seals team responsible for killing Osama in 2011, include letters to family, expense account entries, and Bin Laden's observations on world events.

      International Business Times
    • Texas court grants appeal after 35 years without conviction

      DALLAS (AP) — A Texas inmate who was imprisoned for 35 years while waiting for a new trial after a court overturned his murder conviction should be set free, an appellate court ruled.

      Associated Press
    • How are Americans responding to Trump's inaugural address?

      Lee Carter puts the new president's remarks to the dial test

      FOX News Videos
    • Israel Plays its Trump Card

      Right-wingers in Jerusalem are ecstatic; Palestinian leaders are apoplectic. Welcome to a new era of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

      Foreign Policy Magazine
    • Warriors crush Rockets for sixth straight NBA win

      The Golden State Warriors took their revenge against the Houston Rockets, overwhelming on both ends of the court with a 125-108 victory at the Toyota Center arena. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant joined forces to power the offence while the rest of the crew made the defensive stops as the Warriors stretched their NBA winning streak to six games. "Three good teams in a row, we definitely wanted to come out and make a nice statement," said Durant, who also had two steals and two blocks.

      AFP
    • Over 1 million join anti-Trump women's marches worldwide

      WASHINGTON (AP) — In a global exclamation of defiance and solidarity, more than 1 million people rallied at women's marches in the nation's capital and cities around the world Saturday to send President Donald Trump an emphatic message on his first full day in office that they won't let his agenda go unchallenged.

      Associated Press
    • New White House look: Trump gives the Oval Office a makeover

      WASHINGTON (AP) — It took just a few hours for President Donald Trump to give the Oval Office a makeover, including some fresh gold trim.

      Associated Press
    • Analysis: Trump speech shows America getting what it ordered

      WASHINGTON (AP) — America is getting what it ordered on Election Day.

      Associated Press