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July 8, 2013

Thanks to Murray, Britain's Wimbledon wait is over


LONDON — Now it was deuce.

"I started to feel nervous," Murray said.

The match continued for eight additional points. Seemed to take forever.

"My head was kind of everywhere. I mean, some of the shots he came up with were unbelievable," Murray said. "At the end of the match, I didn't quite know what was going on. Just a lot of different emotions."

Any of Djokovic's break points in that game would have made it 5-all, and who knows what toll that would have taken on Murray's mind? But Murray erased the first two chances with a 116 mph service winner, then a forehand winner on the 21st stroke.

At deuce for a third time, Djokovic conjured up a forehand passing winner to get his third break point. Murray dropped his head and placed his hands on his knees. He would not lose another point.

Admittedly feeling the effects of his five-setter Friday against Juan Martin del Potro — at 4 hours, 43 minutes, it's the longest semifinal in Wimbledon history — Djokovic wound up with 40 unforced errors, nearly double Murray's 21.

"I wasn't patient enough," Djokovic said.

Ah, patience. For fortnight after fortnight, decade after decade, Wimbledon began with much fanfare and ended with much disappointment for the British, who love their tennis and the tournament they refer to simply as The Championships.

Seen for a while as the best chance to deliver a title, Murray shouldered plenty of pressure and expectations lately.

"It's hard. It's really hard. You know, for the last four or five years, it's been very, very tough, very stressful," Murray said. "It's just kind of everywhere you go. It's so hard to avoid everything because of how big this event is, but also because of the history and no Brit having won."

The phrase "the last British man to win Wimbledon was Fred Perry in 1936" became part of the national conversation. Thanks to what happened Sunday, that changes forever.

As of now, the last British man to win Wimbledon was Andy Murray in 2013.

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