There are certain moments that can transcend sport. Those moments are big enough to unite a country, breakdown barriers and bring immense pride to all who never had the chance to play themselves. Some of those moments you are even willing to wait over 12 tense minutes for because you know you are on the verge of history. On Sunday, Andy Murray and Great Britain collectively shared one of those moments that they will soon not forget.
Andy’ Big Game
15-0 Murray: After a changeover where anticipation was rampant, Andy’s first serve goes wide. The second serve into the body gives Murray an edge and the first point after a short rally. Three points to ending the streak.
30-0 Murray: Andy is forced to rely on another second serve into the body to start the rally. Sensing an opportunity, Novak tries a midcourt dropshot that Murray runs down (something he did all match long) and puts it away with an abbreviated forehand. The clock is ticking on Novak now.
40-0 Murray: A huge serve up the middle forces Novak to lunge and hit the return into the net. As Murray wipes his brow, the Centre Court crowd is nearly delirious as a fellow Brit is now one point away from the title.
40-15 Murray: A big serve is barely returned by Novak (he does seem to get to nearly everything) keeps him in the match and after three fantastic volleys that move Murray around the court, he stays alive.
40-30 Murray: A long first serve draws some jeers from the crowd and this time Murray’s second serve is easily handled by Novak and a backhand winner eliminates another championship point. Everyone is probably taking a deep breath as Andy is down to his last match point.
40-40 Deuce: The inconsistent serving continues with another second serve that leads to a long rally ending abruptly with Murray’s backhand going long. The faces around the grounds are getting more and more tense as this match is not over yet.
40-40 Adv. Djokovic: Andy is quickly losing control of the game as he puts a forehand into the net and now will have to serve against a Djokovic break point.
40-40 Deuce #2: After nearly six minutes, Andy lets out a big “Come On” after the Djokovic return sails long. You can obviously see Andy trying to motivate himself after letting this game get to deuce.
40-40 Adv. Djokovic: It really can be a game of inches or net cords as a long rally ends with a Novak dropshot barely creeping over. Once again, Murray will serve to stay alive in the game.
40-40 Deuce #3: These two are so comfortable with the long, grueling rallies that we shouldn’t expect anything less after another deuce. This time, Murray jumps on a short ball and hits a forehand winner to get it back to even.
40-40 Adv. Djokovic: One of the better shots you will see as Novak stretches out return Murray’s dropshot crosscourt for a winner. Andy can only shake his head after that point.
40-40 Deuce #4: Tennis is simpler when you can hit a big first serve and Andy knows it this game. An easy dropshot, a fist pump and the fight continues toward history.
40-40 Adv. Murray: I think Novak would probably want to take that overhead back. He’s a bit cautious and that prolongs the point for Andy who once again chases down a dropshot and sets up another championship point.
Streak Over: After nearly 12 tense minutes, Djokovic’s backhand goes into the net and there is a huge roar across the British Isles. A mystified Andy Murray can hardly believe it as one of the most venerable droughts in sports has ended after 77 years. A historic moment that was worth the wait!
We say farewell to this slightly odd but historic Championships. I leave you with highlights of the 2013 edition of Wimbledon courtesy of the official Wimbledon YouTube page.
For more check out the blog A man and his racquet or the YouTube page.