The Spirit of 76: Andy Murray Writes a New Chapter in British Tennis History
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
It had been 76 years since a British man had won a slam, but in his fifth try, Andy Murray broke the streak and booked his place in the history books with a 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Novak Djokovic in another intense Monday final. Murray fans like me have been waiting a long time for him to do it and he finally did.
Murray and Djokovic struggled with the whipping winds early and traded breaks of serve in the 1st, pushing it all the way to a tie break where Murray needed more than a hands worth of set points to close out the set. He finally converted. In the 2nd, Murray roared to a double break lead over an irritated Djokovic, but Novak would storm back to 5 all before Murray broke and took a 2 set lead.
The momentum would quickly turn though, and Murray struggled to keep up with an awakened and beastly Djokovic. Murray was broken and wasted break back chances in both the 3rd and 4th sets to allow Djokovic to knot the match up and send it to a deciding set. Hope looked to be in short supply for the Scottish warrior. It looked like it would be another torturous choke for Murray.
Then the momentum would snap back and Murray would find his legs and his second wind, refusing to bow to Djokovic. He broke to open the 5th out of nowhere, getting a second break and then holding serve all the way to 5-2. It was there that he served for history against an exhausted Djokovic, who called the trainer out before the final game. Djokovic hit a return long at 40-15 and Murray finally got his US Open title after 4 hours and 54 minutes of play. Murray most certainly earned this title with intense, tenacious, emotional tennis playing amazing defense and body blows of groundstrokes with his skillful counterpunching style. Djokovic has to be credited for fighting back and nearly pulling off the comeback, but Murray had his mind locked in in this match.
Murray is the new world number 3 and started the summer with a run to the Wimbledon finals, finished it with his first Grand Slam title at the US Open, and grabbed an Olympic gold medal in between, making his devoted fans and the nation of Great Britain immensely proud and excited the whole way. For what it’s worth, he also struggled in the 2 masters events he played over the summer but brought a 5th gear to his game at the US Open.
Previously in the week, he had worked past Milos Raonic in straights, Marin Cilic in 4 sets and surprise semi-finalist Tomas Berdych, who shocked Roger Federer in 4 sets in the quarters. He beat Berdych in 4, who struggled with the windy conditions.
Djokovic, who was defending his US Open title last year, beat Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin Del Potro in straights then beat David Ferrer in 4 in a match where they played nearly a set on Saturday and the rest of the match on Sunday due to the stormy weather conditions. Ferrer had previously beaten Janko Tipsarevic in a 5 set grinding slugfest in the quarterfinals.
The Bryans took yet another doubles title and the “Big 4”ATP players all won a slam this year with Djokovic triumphing in Melbourne, Nadal in Paris, Federer in London and Murray in New York. This was a very fitting result for all. The ATP tour will now begin winding down for the year with the Asian swing and fall indoor events in Europe, but the top tennis players in the world will keep going and going.