Murray: Wimbledon champion
We look back on how Andy Murray ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's Wimbledon title
By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza. Last Updated: 19/06/14 5:45pm
Andy Murray: Beat Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon last year
On July 7 2013 in the sweltering heat of Centre Court, Andy Murray's dream of winning Wimbledon finally became a reality as he ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's champion.
The Scot claimed a memorable straight-sets victory against world No 1 Novak Djokovic to secure the second grand slam title of his career and become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win at the All England Club.
A year earlier Murray was unable to stave off the tears after losing in four sets to Roger Federer, but just a few months later he landed his first major with a dramatic five-set win over Djokovic at the US Open.
The Serb exacted his revenge in the final of the Australian Open in a battle of attrition at Melbourne Park, winning in four sets.
Murray was then forced to withdraw from the French Open with a back injury and it remained unclear whether or not he would recover in time for the grass-court season.
But he did so with a vengeance to complete the perfect Wimbledon preparation by clinching his second Aegon Championships title at Queen's Club with a straight-sets success against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Going into the main show, Murray was desperate to go one better than in 2012. He appeared fit and mentally prepared for the challenges that lay ahead, and what a journey it turned out to be...
In his opening round match, Murray came up against Germany's Benjamin Becker. The British No 1 was playing his first match on Centre Court since the Olympic final.
He had beaten the same player at Queen's two weeks earlier and had little trouble brushing him aside again 6-4 6-3 6-2 in an hour and 52 minutes.
There were a few wobbles, especially when he was pegged back from 4-1 to 4-4 in the first set, but Murray improved as the match went on and produced an excellent third set of all-court tennis, with his forehand looking particularly venomous.
Another winner - his 38th of the match - sent him through to a second round meeting against Lu Yen-hsun.
"It was a tough start for me, he is a very good grass player," said Murray. "I was ready and to win in three sets was a good start. There's always nerves at the start of a grand slam and I'm glad to get it out of the way and hopefully I can improve as it goes on."
The only drama came whenever Rafael Nadal's score on Court One was flashed up on the scoreboard as the Spaniard crashed out to world No 135 Steve Darcis.
Murray produced a fine performance against Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun, winning 6-3 6-3 7-5, with the match not as close as the scoreline suggested.
He began a little nervously, not surprisingly on a day that saw a host of top seeds tumble out, some literally.
Murray had to save break points in the fifth game, but having survived that scare he did not look back. Lu hung in well in the third set but could not force a tie-break.
He might have served a little more consistently but still hit 11 aces and 41 clean winners, with only 14 unforced errors to set up a meeting against Spain's Tommy Robredo in the last 32.
The day was remarkable in the fact that seven-time champion Roger Federer lost in four sets to Sergiy Stakhovsky while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was among seven players to succumb to injuries.
Nadal's conqueror Darcis and women's second seed Victoria Azarenka also pulled out, while 2004 champion Maria Sharapova suffered a shock defeat to world No 131 Michelle Larcher de Brito from Portugal.
"I thought I kept my concentration well and did well on my serve. Each game I was putting pressure on his serve, but he played ultra-aggressive and it was very tough," said Murray.
Cakes and ice cream
Meanwhile, Robredo was looking forward to his meeting with the 2012 finalist, saying: "I have nothing to lose. I'm enjoying Wimbledon, I'm playing great tennis and it's lovely to be in a grand slam playing one of the best players on the tour.
"If I thought I had no chance, I would go home tomorrow. But I play Andy in two days. Right now, I prefer to enjoy my win, to relax, have a great dinner because I deserve it - with a chocolate cake and ice cream."
He may have enjoyed his chocolate cakes and ice cream a little too much because it was Murray who looked imperious under the Centre Court roof, winning 6-2 6-4 7-5.
For a set and a half, the Scot was unplayable, timing the ball exceptionally sweetly and powering winners with his forehand and backhand at will.
He could not quite maintain the same level for the third set, but it was more than good enough for an easy win.
Afterwards, Murray said: "It was a high level match, I struck the ball very well throughout.
"He started to feel comfortable and was serving very well in the third set. I had very few chances then managed to get the break right at the end.
"I went for it and had a lot of winners, that was very pleasing. I hit the ball better from the back of the court.
"I hope I can keep playing better, I've been pushed in my matches. The third set was a tough one. I've been tested and come through it well.
"People are putting even more pressure on me because of the nature of how the draw's worked out."
In the last 16, Murray came up against experienced Mikhail Youzhny. The Russian, who is a canny grass-court player, made life difficult for Murray, who could not find the form he showed against Robredo, but still won in straight sets, 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 to the delight of the Union Flag wavers and wearers.
In the second set he lost four straight games from 3-1 up but battled back to force a tie-break, and then came from 5-3 down to win that.
The third set was one-sided and Murray later played down concerns that his troublesome back was playing up.
"There's no cause for concern. My back is what it is. It's felt way, way better than it was a few weeks ago," he said.
Murray’s next test was presented by the big, left-handed forehand of Spain's Fernando Verdasco.
The Scot, who had beaten Verdasco in eight of their nine encounters, said: "I've not played a lefty this year so I will have to return some lefty serves before then.
"I grew up playing with my brother Jamie so that almost feels more natural to me than a righty. But the way you move on the return is different. I'll have to hit a lot of returns."
Verdasco was a surprise quarter-finalist but played his best tennis in years to send Murray to the brink of elimination in a five-set classic which lasted 3 hours 27 minutes.
The Scot was dispirited and struggling while his opponent had a bounce in his step, while his shots fizzed with energy.
Murray gifted the Spaniard the first set and then played a very poor second set, but a break of serve early in the third put him on the comeback trail and the old zest was back in his shots and his head.
The fourth and fifth sets were hugely tense, with big-hitting Verdasco thumping his serve at speeds of up to 136mph and brutal forehands to put Murray under extreme pressure at times.
But the 26-year-old withstood it and a break of serve in the 11th game of the decider helped him win from two sets down for the seventh time in his career - 4-6 3-6 6-1 6-4 7-5.
"He really went for it and he served extremely well," Murray said afterwards.
"He's been serving big the whole tournament. A lot of his serves were very close to the line on big points. He was going out to the lines and came up with some huge serves on big moments throughout the whole match.
"Because of that serve he's able to dictate points with his forehand. Once I was able to get into the rallies and return a bit better I was able to take away the power or strength of his forehand. But when he was serving well he could serve and dictate the points with his forehand. When he's doing that, he's incredibly tough to beat."
In his fifth straight Wimbledon semi-final Murray came up against 6ft 8in Jerzy Janowicz, who fired down 140mph first serves and 121mph second serves.
The huge-hitting Pole looked the main danger to Murray as soon as the big names went out of his half of the draw. Janowicz's big serve made life difficult but Murray, who played a poor first-set tie-break, responded well in the second.
He trailed 4-1 in the third but won five straight games that gave him all the momentum before the decision to close the roof by match referee, Andrew Jarrod, at 8.39pm in darkening skies over SW19 - which annoyed Murray, but pleased Janowicz.
When the players returned a short time later, it was the British No 1 who dominated the fourth set under the roof to settle the contest 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-4 6-3 to set up a meeting with Djokovic in the final.
It was to be their 18th meeting. Djokovic led 11-7 and had won the last match-up, in the Australian Open final in January, but the Brit beat the Serb at Wimbledon in the Olympics - their only clash on grass - and in the final of the US Open the previous autumn.
The final had every ingredient including famous faces from the world of entertainment, fashion, sport as well as politicians, including prime minister David Cameron.
But on a barmy summer's day in west Lodnon, it was Murray who ended his Wimbledon drought in a nerve jangling, emotional and historic day in front of a delirious 15,000-strong crowd,
With temperatures soaring to 31 degrees Celsius on the nation's hottest day of the year, there was predictably little to choose between the top two ranked players in the world, who went toe-to-toe from the baseline with 25-shot rallies being par for the course.
But, as he had done all tournament, Murray consistently held his nerve on the big points as the Serb's trademark steely mental reserves grew ever more depleted as the match wore on.
Murray wasted three championship points on his serve at 5-4 in the third set as Djokovic threatened to stage a comeback in a desperately tense finale.
However, after saving three break points, the Scot then seized his fourth chance to claim the title - collapsing to his knees in relief and shedding tears of joy before clambering up into the players’ box to embrace his entourage, including his girlfriend Kim Sears, his mother Judy, his brother Jamie and coach Ivan Lendl.
After being presented with the trophy by the Duke of Kent, last year’s runner-up said: "It feels slightly different to last year. I’m so glad to finally do this."
He added: "I have played Novak many times and when everyone finishes playing, he will go down as one of the fighters. He did the same today and that is what made it tough. I understand how much everyone wanted to see British winner at Wimbledon and I hope everyone enjoyed it.
"I hope you guys enjoyed it. I did my best! I did forget Mum, but then I did remember. My team have stuck by me through some tough moments. This one is for Ivan as well, I know he did everything to try to win this one when he was playing. He’s fantastic, he's been patient and I thank him."
Djokovic was magnanimous in defeat, saying: "Congratulations to Andy you absolutely deserved it, you played incredibly. I know what it means to you guys in the whole country so well done.
"It makes his success even bigger because I know the pressure and expectations he is under. It is a great achievement. I gave it my all and it was an honour to be in this match, in this final."
So, after the rollercoaster ride of 2013, we're already sitting on the edge of our seats with high expectations of another glorious Wimbledon journey with Andy Murray hoping to retain his title and become a three-time grand slam champion to boot.