London 2012 Olympics: Game, set and gold for Andy Murray
WHERE just a month before he had wept tears of disappointment, Andy Murray fought to hold back tears of joy after demolishing Roger Federer and winning Olympic gold at Wimbledon yesterday.
In a victory which the Scot described as “the biggest win of my life” Murray added to Team GB’s growing haul of gold medals and finally vanquished those who doubted his ability to ever win a major tournament.
In doing so, he became the first British man to win the Olympic singles gold medal since Josiah Ritchie in 1908.
Murray was the second gold medallist for Team GB yesterday after Ben Ainslie clinched his fourth straight gold medal in sailing to become the most decorated Olympic sailor in history.
However, Murray and his mixed doubles partner Laura Roberts could not add a third gold last night, losing out to Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi of Belarus in the finals.
Within minutes of Murray’s victory, Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “So proud of @andy_murray becoming Olympic champion after @Wimbledon disappointment.”
First Minister Alex Salmond joined the messages of congratulations, calling his success an “epic achievement”. He said: “Andy Murray played the match of his life on the biggest stage of all against the best player in tennis history.
“This gold medal marks Murray’s arrival as a contender to be the world’s No 1.
“To beat Djokovic and Federer is an epic achievement. To demolish Federer in an Olympic final is breathtaking.
“It’s a Murray masterclass which should make everyone in Scotland extremely proud.”
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore was at Wimbledon to watch Murray take the gold medal.
He said: “It’s difficult to think of a better conclusion to an astounding sporting weekend for Team GB at the Olympics.
“After all the drama and medals of yesterday, seeing Andy take the fight to Federer with such intensity was remarkable to watch. He has proven without any doubt that he is at the pinnacle of his sport and a great Olympian.
“His skill and spirit today made him unbeatable. Being part of the crowd cheering him on alongside a rising Scottish tennis star, Anna Brogan, was a great privilege.
“Today once again shows just how much the Olympics have caught the public’s imagination across the UK and beyond.”
To the spectators crowded in the centre court at Wimbledon and those watching on Murray Mount it was indeed a masterclass as the player, driven on by the incessant roar of the crowds and, he later admitted, the growing success of Team GB, served ace after ace.
At the end of each set, Team Murray – which included his parents, Judy and Will Murray – leapt to their feet and urged him on.
At the end of the match, Murray clambered into the crowd and up towards the VIP box where his parents, his girlfriend, Kim Sears, and the other members of Team Murray were fighting back tears of joy.
Ms Sears was the first person he hugged, but perhaps the longest embrace was with his mother, Judy, who was openly weeping at the spectacle of her son winning an Olympic gold medal.
Afterwards Murray said: “The crowd were unbelievable. I watched the athletics last night and it was just amazing. I watched Mo Farah win.
“I do 400 metre reps in my training and when I am completely fresh I can run it in 57 seconds, and in his last lap after he had run 9,600 metres he ran it in 53 seconds. It was just unbelievable fitness.
“The momentum I think the team has had in the last couple of days has been incredible and it gave me a boost coming into the match today.”
Murray described the feeling as “amazing” and went on: “I didn’t expect that at the beginning of the week. I had a chance of going deep into the tournament, but I was a little bit tired after Wimbledon, and I was playing in the mixed as well, but I felt so fresh today.
“I didn’t feel nervous really at all, except maybe at the beginning of the match, but it was amazing.”
He said: “It was worth it. I have had a lot of tough losses in my career but this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I will never forget it.”
More roars greeted Murray as he returned to centre court for the medal ceremony.
The crowds remained upstanding throughout the ceremony, with a crescendo in volume when the Scot draped himself in a Union flag, after, if not lustily singing, at least having a go at the national anthem.
Loyal fans in Murray’s home town of Dunblane, in Perthshire, gathered together to watch him be crowned Olympic champion. Crowds in the Dunblane Centre, where fans have gathered over the years to get behind their local hero, were given a reason to celebrate this time round.
About 60 people burst into applause and jumped up as Murray hit his winning ace.
Gemma Greer, centre manager, said: “You could have heard a pin drop before that last point, but as soon as he hit it the place erupted and the huge cheer here.
“Some of these people were sat here in the same place exactly four weeks ago, but it wasn’t to be then. We have always been very proud of him and today he has shown what he is capable of.”
In the bar of the Dunblane Hotel, the regular Murray watchers were enjoying their moment of celebration.
Barman Ryan Greig said: “It was actually when he got his medal that we heard the loudest noise. He’s an Olympic champion now, good on him.”
Andy’s grandmother, Ellen Murray, 79, said: “It’s just wonderful – it’s better than a Grand Slam, he’s won the Olympics. He’s got a gold medal. We’re so happy for him.”
She added: “I couldn’t watch, but my daughter Lynn called and said ‘put it on, put it on’.
“So I watched and I’m just so happy. He deserves it so much.”
Yesterday Roger Federer, who had so much wished to win an Olympic Gold on the courts of Wimbledon, said simply: “He was better, much better than I was today.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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