At around 2am BST Andy Murray became the US Open champion; winning his first Grand Slam and becoming the first British man to win one in 76 years. While somewhat bleary-eyed this morning, it was quite simply one of the greatest tennis matches I’ve ever seen — and well worth staying up on a school night.
While there may have been more poignant examples of Olympic inspiration this summer, few have been galvanised more by The Games than Murray. After a tearful end to his Wimbledon final against Roger Federer he embraced the Olympic tournament with renewed vigour, routing both Djokovic and Federer en route to gold at SW19. Ominously though, Djokovic had won 27 straight hard court matches on his way to this US Open final.
Murray edged a truly incredible first set, 7-6 — on a tie-breaker (12-10) — the sixth game of which produced a 54-shot rally. Almost every other point seemed to develop into a marathon. While he took the second set 7-5, Djokovic inevitably emerged as the T-1000 to Murray’s John Connor. He battered the Scot relentlessly for the next two sets, taking them 6-2 and 6-3. Though his liquid metal assassin finally showed signs of seizing up in the last as Murray displayed incredible resolve to romp home, 6-2.
It was a truly epic battle and the perfect way to end an incredible summer of sport. Murray’s dreams are finally coming true and as the gracious Djokovic observed: “I had a great opponent today, he deserved to win this Grand Slam more than anybody”
Gary Burns will now switch his attention to the Ryder Cup (Sept. 28-30). His playful brand of anti-Americanism can be found on twitter, @GTBurns