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July 7, 2013

Murray ends Britain's 77-year wait at Wimbledon

LONDON — Andy Murray needed one more point, one solitary point, to win Wimbledon — a title he yearned to earn for himself, of course, and also for his country.

Britain had endured 77 years since one of its own claimed the men's trophy at the revered tournament referred to around here simply as The Championships, and now here was Murray, on the brink of triumph after 3 hours of grueling tennis against top-seeded Novak Djokovic under a vibrant sun at Centre Court.

Up 40-love, Murray failed to convert his first match point. And his second. And then, yes, his third, too. On and on the contest, and accompanying tension, stretched, Murray unable to close it, Djokovic unwilling to yield, the minutes certainly feeling like hours to those playing and those watching. Along came three break points for Djokovic, all erased. Finally, on Murray's fourth chance to end it, Djokovic dumped a backhand into the net.

The final was over.

The wait was over.

A year after coming oh-so-close by losing in the title match at the All England Club, the No. 2-ranked Murray beat No. 1 Djokovic of Serbia 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 Sunday to become Wimbledon's champion in a test of will and skill between a pair of men with mirror-image defensive styles that created lengthy points brimming with superb shot making.

"That last game will be the toughest game I'll play in my career. Ever," said Murray, who was born in Dunblane, Scotland, and is the first British man to win the grass-court Grand Slam tournament since Fred Perry in 1936. "Winning Wimbledon — I still can't believe it. Can't get my head around that. I can't believe it."

For several seasons, Murray was the outsider looking in, while Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic collected 30 out of 31 Grand Slam titles. But now Murray has clearly and completely turned the Big 3 into a Big 4, having reached the finals at the last four major tournaments he entered (he withdrew from the French Open in May because of a bad back). And he's now a two-time Slam champion, having defeated Djokovic in five sets at the U.S. Open in September.

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