Murray expresses 'relief' after win
Tennis:There was one word that summed up for Andy Murray the realisation of a dream that he feared may never come; relief.
The Scot defeated defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-6 (12/10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in the US Open final on Monday night to finally win his first grand slam title at the fifth time of asking — and become the first British man to land a singles crown at one of the four majors since Fred Perry in 1936.
It was somehow fitting that the match was a rollercoaster, mirroring the journey Murray has taken to get here, as at one stage he looked poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The 25-year-old said: “It was an incredibly tough match and obviously it felt great at the end. Relief is probably the best word I would use to describe how I’m feeling just now. I’m very, very happy that I managed to come through because if I had lost this one from two sets up, that would have been a tough one to take.
“I was still doubting myself right up to a few minutes before going on to play the match. It’s something I have never done before. I have been in this position many times and not managed to get through. I am just so relieved to finally have got there and I can put this one behind me and hopefully win more.
“I think just proving it to myself is probably the most pleasing part about tonight, because there were times when I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it.”
The victory came nine weeks after Murray cried on Centre Court following his loss to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final and four weeks after he gained revenge over the world number one on the same court to win Olympic gold.
Murray became the first man to win both the Olympic singles title and the US Open in the same year, and he did not allow thoughts of his previous disappointments to creep in even when the third and fourth sets had slipped away.
He said: “I went to the toilet after the fourth set and just had a think and said, ‘It’s just one more set. Give everything. You don’t want to come off this court with any regrets. Don’t get too down on yourself. Just try and fight’. I got a bit fortunate to get the break at the beginning of the set, and that helped.”
While Murray tried to take in his achievement, his friends and family and the team he has worked with for most of his professional career cried and hugged each other.
It famously takes a lot to make the Scot smile in public, and even winning a first grand slam title did not have him beaming from ear to ear, for which he jokingly blamed coach Ivan Lendl, nicknamed Stoneface during his playing days for his lack of emotion.
Murray said: “I think everyone is just in a little bit of shock that it’s happened. I’ve seen my mum after I have lost in slam finals and stuff, and she’s been really upset. Everyone is really, really happy, I think we’re sort of learning from Lendl a little bit.