Just watched history! There's no way I can fully appreciate this victory to its true scale, not being from Great Britain. But trying to wrap my head around it, it's simply amazing. 77 years. No men's singles Wimbledon champion has hailed from Great Britain. Andy Murray changes that today with an epic three-set win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic on his hometown soil.
What makes this a memorable tennis match is first, the actual tennis. Sounds obvious, but Murray was simply brilliant while Djokovic almost pulled out another Djokovic-esque comeback. Down 2 games to love, and down in the third, in the would-be last set, Djokovic fought back to actually take the lead. Then he fought back on three straight Championship points before finally succumbing to Murray. Every time you start to think the match is as good as a final, Novak flips the momentum on a 180. Today it fell short as Andy Murray made it his moment. He had every return imaginable delivered with such accurate precision. Every "one-up" volley seemed to go Murray's way.
What takes this match to another memorable level is just how much Murray's victory meant to Great Britain and the pressure that carried throughout the match. Bill Simmons accurately put it in perspective just as Djokovic started to comeback in the last set.
That's because all of Britain was behind Murray. Seemingly all of Britain. ESPN kept showing scenes of endless crowds in different places across the countries, gathered together and standing, watching the match live on a big screen. It reminded me of the Kanye projections, except on an even greater scale. With 6 points remaining, the crowd at Centre Court jumped with hands raised to block the TV cameras after each Murray point brought him closer to the title. When he finally put Djokovic away, Murray climbed into the crowd and celebrated with his coaches, family, and friends. It was like a more subdued version of MJ in '92, for us Chicago sports fans.
Here's a couple fun ways to put this in perspective. If you think about it in the States, in individual sports, is there one athlete that galvanizes an entire nation to stop what they're doing to watch him/her try for a championship? Tiger Woods at his prime (and pre-adultry) may have been the closest to what Andy Murray means as a national hero ending the 77 year drought today. We just experienced a Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory that galvanized Chicago; it looks like Great Britain is overcome with the same energy (just not with the chaos on Clark Street, ha). And with how long that streak got (see: tweet below), I'd like to think today's event would be akin to the future moment when the Cubs end their 105 year (and counting) drought of winning a World Series. Chills just thinking about that analogy for Great Britain. What a transcendent event in sports today; I couldn't help but write about it as a growing fan of tennis. Enjoy it in the U.K. and congrats Andy Murray, king of Great Britain!
Sidebar: The ESPN telecast revealed Andy Murray's off-season track workout: 10 400m runs + 20 100m sprints with minimal rest in between. Wow. 4 400m runs is an intense Sgt. Tibs track workout. Gotta step my game up, I'm not even close!