Andy Murray is a Grand Slam winner. It’s been a phrase that’s been on the tip of the tongue since about 2008, but finally it’s a matter of fact. The 25 year old Scot beat defending champion, Novak Djokovic last night at Flushing Meadows to get his hands one of the four holy grails for the first time.
Murray prevailed in five incredible sets the aspiring scriptwriters that populate New York City would have found it hard to invent. In an era when epic Grand Slam finals have become the norm, this one still managed to stand out from the crowd.
Like so much of his Grand Slam career to date, it was far from simple. Murray didn’t quite cruise into a two set lead, but he found more when it looked like Nole was getting his game together. But Murray supporters know from experience the threat of heartbreak is never far away.
Right on cue came the blistering comeback from Djokovic and the unavoidable feeling this was another heroic failure in the making. But it never came. Inspired by the fear of a bollocking from the titanium-willed Ivan Lendl or – even worse – his mother, Murray showed the battling spirit to compliment his brilliance.
Murray kicked clear in the final set to record a historic victory for British tennis. The last time a British man won a Grand Slam event, the moon was still made of cheese and smoking a cigarette was considered healthier than munching on an apple. Murray ends the drought that began with Fred Perry in 1936 and there is the potential for more in the offing.
With several of his best years ahead of him, thoughts will turn to ‘how many?’ It’s jumping the gun a bit, but with the monkey off his back, he is in prime condition to add to his haul over coming seasons. His first chance will be the Australian Open in January. He’s 5/2 second favourite to win in Melbourne. The surface suits, but the searing heat doesn’t sit well with the Scottish complexion.
It’s asking a lot to win a French Open, but Wimbeldon is clearly on the radar. After pushing Roger Federer close this year, the mental block is gone and the dream is well and truly on. He’s 2/1 joint favourite with Novak Djokovic to win at the All England Club.
Before that however, is the arguably more competitive prize of BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In any other year, a Brit winning a Grand Slam would have him at the top of the betting, but after a superb Olympics for Team GB, he’s up some very worthy candidates. After winning the Tour De France and the Olympic Time Trial, Bradley Wiggins is the 5/4 favourite with double Olympic champion, Mo Farah at 9/4. Murray isn’t far behind on 5/2, but the challenges of Jessica Ennis (8/1), quadruple 2012 Paralympic gold medal winner, David Weir (20/1) and double gold winner Ellie Simmons (33/1) are also hard to rule out.