A long time coming
Thank God that's over. Thank God we can let Fred Perry lie easy. Thank God for Andy Murray. Match stats | Magic numbers | Facts | Men’s rankings | Twitterati | All in a day’s playsports Updated: Sep 12, 2012 01:00 IST
Thank God that's over. Thank God we can let Fred Perry lie easy. Thank God for Andy Murray.
The Scot's career reached an apogee of excellence over five sets in the wind-whipped testing ground of the Arthur Ashe Court at Flushing Meadows in the US Open final against the defending champion Novak Djokovic, who was spent and gracious at the end.
Murray's 7-6 (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory over an opponent exactly a week younger than him and whose career he has trailed like a jet vapour since they were 11 years old, equalled the longest in a final here, four hours and 54 minutes - exactly the same time it took Murray's coach, Ivan Lendl, to lose to Mats Wilander in the 1988 final.
Murray reckoned he saw Old Stone Face smile at the end. Well he might. It was a flawed, heroic, unforgettable contest, taking about as long as a decent production of Macbeth, with nearly as many twists and turns.
A scattered collection of Scots watched, headed by the loud knights Sean Connery and Alex Ferguson - as well Andy's delighted mother, Judy - as a final that arrived a day late due to a rain-made postponement, the fifth here in five years, held New Yorkers spellbound. But it was worth the wait. This, after all, was the culmination of a quest that has frustrated British males in 287 Grand Slam tournaments since 1936.
"They were incredibly tricky conditions," Murray said. "After the third and fourth sets it was really tough for me. Novak is such a fighter. I just managed to get through."
And how he made us suffer. Again. He seems incapable of winning easily in the really big matches; indeed, at four times of asking in Grand Slam finals, he has lost fairly convincingly. This was a victory against a rival who'd been in sublime form all fortnight and who, after going two sets down, came back at him as if he'd stolen his car.
"When I was sitting in the locker room beforehand, there were still doubts," Murray said. "I was still thinking, 'If I lose this one, no one has ever lost their first five finals.' I just didn't really want to be that person."