Andy Murray has ended Britain’s agonising 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s singles champion when he destroyed world number one Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in the blistering heat of the All England Club.
The 26-year-old on Sunday became the country’s first male winner since Fred Perry in 1936, the year the Spanish Civil War started, Jesse Owens defied Hitler at the Berlin Olympics and Gone With The Wind was published.
It was Murray’s second Grand Slam title to follow his breakthrough triumph at the US Open in 2012 which followed his Olympic gold medal as well as a heartbreaking, tearful loss to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final.
However, Sunday’s title showdown, between two men who have now contested three of the last four Grand Slam finals, rarely lived up to expectations.
Both struggled in the stifling 40-degree heat and the top-seeded Serb, who had beaten Murray in the Australian Open final in January, looked jaded after his record four hour 43-minute semi-final victory over Juan Martin del Potro.
And despite leads of 4-1 in the second set and 4-2 in the third, he was out-hit by Murray who finished with 36 winners to 31, with 21 unforced errors to the Serb’s 40 and having carved out 17 break points.
Inside a baking Centre Court, and watched by Victoria Beckham, Wayne Rooney as well as Hollywood stars Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper, the first point of the match was a punishing 20 strokes.
A break in the second game of the third set gave Murray a 2-0 lead before Djokovic, having discarded the hat, raced away with the next four games for a 4-2 lead.
But Murray reclaimed the break in the seventh game and levelled in the eighth with a running, curled forehand off a Djokovic drop. It was almost over.
Djokovic, in his 11th Grand Slam final, was broken for 4-5 before the British star, with the crowd on their feet, wasted three match points.
He finally achieved his place in history when Djokovic netted a backhand after three hours and nine minutes of action.