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Britain's Own Andy Murray Wins Men's Title At Wimbledon
Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 5:58 am
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
People in Britain are celebrating a new Wimbledon tennis champion this morning, a man born on their own soil.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Game, that's a match...
GREENE: That's early applause from the crowd yesterday, just before Andy Murray won in straight sets beating Novak Djokovic. Murray's victory ends 77 years of heartbreak. The last Brit to win the Wimbledon men's title: Fred Perry in 1936.
Simon Cambers covered the tournament for The Guardian newspaper and we reached in this morning in London. Simon, good morning.
SIMON CAMBERS: Good morning.
GREENE: So put this in perspective for us, if you can. How big is this that Andy Murray has now won Wimbledon?
CAMBERS: Yeah, this is a sort of debate that is already starting, as how does it fit with other great British sporting triumphs, if you like. I mean some people are comparing it to England winning the World Cup in 1966. And I think in terms of an individual sport, it has to be the best achievement in my lifetime certainly, and certainly in the last sort of 40, 50 years.
GREENE: That's huge then. I mean we're talking decades.
CAMBERS: Yeah, since we had any Wimbledon champion in the single. That was Virginia Wade in 1977, and many, many decades since Fred Perry won in 1936. And it's because Wimbledon is on British soil, it's such an enormous event for British people. And it's for many British people, it's the only tennis they see all year. So if someone is not winning at Wimbledon, they don't even know how good they are elsewhere around the world.
Murray obviously is a fantastic player. But until he actually wins his home title, in their eyes at least, you know, they don't realize quite how good he is. So that's how big it is.
GREENE: Well, take us to that last game, if you can. I mean, Andy Murray won in straight sets but the last game itself, when he got match point, I mean it was a bit of a nail biter.
CAMBERS: It was absolutely unbelievable. I spoke to Richard Krajicek, the former Wimbledon champion, afterwards. And he was saying that for a three-set match it was almost like a five set, with the number of ups and downs it had. But, yeah, I mean Murray got to 40-love. We thought, well, surely that was enough. But having watched Andy Murray over the years, you knew that there was going to be a little bit more drama left. And those three match points disappeared in a flash as Djokovic played very well.
And then the nerves were starting to jangle, and Djokovic had a few breakpoint chances, and Murray played fantastically well to hang in there mentally on those breakpoints. And finally, on the fourth one, when Novak put the backhand in the net, then it all started to become true.
GREENE: I mean, Andy Murray in many ways must have been feeling like he was carrying the weight of a nation on his shoulders.
CAMBERS: Yeah, I think that's true. He's always said that, you know, he doesn't mind the pressure. He's always done a pretty good job of handling it. His record at Wimbledon has been excellent throughout. But, you know, in some of the things he's been saying since, it does seem that he really did feel a bit of a burden.
And now that that's off his shoulders, hopefully, he can play pretty much carefree for the rest of his career. And that should be really special for him, and it could mean that he goes on to win a lot more titles.
GREENE: The monkey is off his back. So now the pressure, or at least a bit of it, is gone. One fact worth noting - although it's probably being buried in the Andy Murray headlines a bit - that Wimbledon also had a first-time winner on the women's side.
CAMBERS: Yeah, absolutely, and a very unusual championship as a whole. We talked about Wild Wednesday or Wacky Wednesday last week when everyone seemed to crash out. Yeah, on the women's side, Serena Williams lost fairly early to Sabine Lisicki of Germany. And it was Lisicki against Marion Bartoli of France in the final.
And Bartoli, the more experienced of the two at this level, having got to the final here six years ago, came out on top. And she's a fantastically sort of quirky character on and off court; very intelligent and very interesting and fun. And, you know, it gives a lot of hope to young girls coming up that you don't have to be Serena Williams to win the grand slam titles. Very pleased for Bartoli. She's a good player and a nice person.
GREENE: Great story, both the men's side and the women's side at Wimbledon. Andy Murray, the first Brit to win on the men's side of Wimbledon in 77 years. And we've been talking about that with journalist Simon Cambers.
Simon, thanks so much for talking to us.
CAMBERS: A pleasure, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.