ANDY Murray fulfilled his burning ambition as he made history by becoming the first British tennis player since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon.
The Scot powered his way to victory in a nerve-shredding, torturous, straight-sets triumph over Novak Djokovic to be crowned champion at the All England Club. Up 40-0 in the final game, Murray saw three championship points slip away, as Djokovic refused to relent to the collective will of both Centre Court and the country beyond.
Finally seizing his opportunity after saving three break points, Murray looked as if he could not quite believe his victory when he eventually took game, set, match and, at last, championship.
The Scot sank to his knees in tears as the 16,000 spectators packed into Centre Court – including Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond – erupted with joy.
Speaking to the BBC’s Sue Barker after being presented with the trophy, the 26-year-old admitted the final point had passed by in a blur.
“I have no idea what happened,” Murray said. “I don’t know how long that last game was – I can’t even remember it.
“It feels slightly different to last year – last year was one of the toughest moments of my career,” the Scot told the Centre Court crowd, referring to the tears after his defeat by Roger Federer in the 2012 final.
“[Today] was an unbelievably tough match, so many long games, and I don’t know how I managed to come through that.
“That final game was unbelievable – three match points.”
Paying tribute to the huge support he has received, Murray said: “I understand how much everyone else wanted to see a British winner at Wimbledon so I hope you guys enjoyed it. I did my best.”
Addressing a post-match press conference later, Murray admitted that his victory – his second grand slam title, after last year’s US Open triumph – may take some time to sink in.
“Who knows? My head was everywhere – some of the shots [Djokovic] came up with were unbelievable. I think that’s why, at the end of the match, I didn’t quite know what was going on. There was a lot of different emotions at that time.
“The last 30 minutes had been a bit of a blur, really. I don’t really know what to say just now – it was an amazing finish to the match.
“I just still can’t believe this has happened. This one will take quite a while to sink in, I’m sure.”
Murray dedicated the victory to coach Ivan Lendl, as well as praising his team. He said: “I have got a great team, they have stuck by me through a lot of tough moments and this one is especially for Ivan as well.”
After winning the title he had always dreamed about, Murray performed the now customary climb into the crowd to celebrate with his coach and family, as well as fellow Olympian Sir Chris Hoy.
The Scot appeared to almost forget his mother Judy, who broke down in tears after his win and could be heard to say “finally” as she hugged other supporters in the box. Murray returned to hug her before she was congratulated by his opponent’s parents.
Asked if he had forgotten his mother in his immediate celebrations, he admitted: “I did forget her, I just heard squealing behind me when I was trying to get down and I turned back.”
Murray’s victory was met by jubilant scenes in his home town of Dunblane, as well as around the country, as a fine summer day encouraged hundreds to pack Edinburgh’s Festival Square and other public spaces in towns across the UK to watch the match on giant screens.
Temperatures also soared at SW19, with the mercury passing 40C in the sun on Centre Court just before 2pm, according to club officials.
In the Royal Box, a host of figures from the worlds of showbusiness, politics and sport were gripped by the action as Murray moved towards his goal, and a place among the greatest British tennis players of all time.
Mr Cameron and Mr Salmond were joined by Hollywood actors Bradley Cooper and Scot Gerard Butler, as well as footballer Wayne Rooney and fashion designer Victoria Beckham.
Speaking after the match, Mr Salmond said: “Many congratulations to Andy Murray on a truly phenomenal victory.
“Last year Andy Murray won the hearts of Wimbledon. This year he has won the championship and on today’s form there will be many more victories to come. Andy has firmly secured his place in Scottish sporting folklore.”
Murray’s father, William, said: “It was a bit surreal to see him lift the trophy. I’m sure it will take a few weeks and months to realise that the Wimbledon champion is British.”