When Fred Perry won Britain’s last Grand Slam men’s singles championship, 1936’s U.S. National title, King Edward VIII had yet to abdicate the throne for the heart of Wallis Simpson and Hitler‘s rain of bombs over London was still four years away. Well, the UK’s 76-year wait is over: Scotland’s Andy Murray, fresh off his Olympic gold last month, has finally broken through at a Slam, defeating Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in five marathon sets to win the U.S. Open men’s singles crown.
Britain has seen other players rise to the upper echelon of the sport — most recently, Tim Henman back in the ’90s — but none has come as tantalizingly close to winning top titles as Murray has. He’d been runner-up at four Slams, three times against the great Roger Federer and once against Djokovic. This past July, he sobbed bitterly after losing in front of his home crowd to Federer in the Wimbledon final, and questions lingered about Murray’s ability to close out tournaments against big opponents. However, a month later, a re-invigorated Murray avenged his defeat by trouncing Federer on the same Wimbledon court, this time for London Olympic gold. This was a huge moment of pride for Britain, as it became clear that Murray was not destined to be a Henmanesque also-ran. Murray was really championship caliber, and the U.S. Open provided the first test of his mettle.
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