It is hard to put into words just how much Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon on Sunday meant to all of Great Britain. It had been 77 years since anyone from the UK had won the world’s most respected tennis title. For almost eight decades there have been many different players that the Brits have pinned their hopes on, only to come up disappointed time after time after time.
Last year Murray came as close as you can to winning, without actually raising the trophy. He lost a thriller to Roger Federer and was left in tears when it was over. Still, all those that doubted Murray was the man to end Britain’s long tennis drought had to be encouraged by his confidence afterward. Murray told anyone that would listen that day he had proved to himself that, not only could he do it, he was on the verge of getting it done.
He backed up those statements on Sunday, disposing of top-seeded Novak Djokovic in straight sets. If you didn’t watch, you’d assume it was easy for Murray, but it was anything but. The Scott needed three hours and nine minutes to topple Djokovic. And while the crowd was clearly filling him with adrenaline and helping him block out any fatigue he may have been suffering from, they were also filling the air with a tension that was so thick you could feel it an ocean away.
When Murray let three match points slip through his fingers in the third set, Twitter nearly blew up. It was painful to watch, and had to be even more agonizing to endure for Murray. Yet he somehow brushed it off, regained his focus and fought off a pair of break-point opportunities for his rival. It was not dissimilar to the way Murray avoided panic as he went down a break in both the second and third sets, fighting back from 4-2 deficits in each.
Finally, on his fourth opportunity to win the title he has always dreamed of, Murray did it, setting off a party all Brits could partake in.
The closest comparison you can make in American sports is if the Cubs ever ended their drought and won a World Series after more than a century of coming up empty. The epic celebration after the Red Sox won their world title in 2004 after 86 years of waiting compares favorably as well.
But at the end of the day, there is nothing in the United States that does this justice. Britain’s sports passion may be soccer, but the most notable event on its sports calendar is Wimbledon. Tickets get passed down from generation to generation. It would be like if Americans somehow went 77 years without winning The Masters.
Andy Murray didn’t just have a whole city, region or state hanging on his every shot; he had an entire kingdom. To get it done under that kind of pressure is nothing short of remarkable. He deserves to celebrate for the next 77 years.