It took 74 years for the first Brit since Bunny Austin in 1938 to reach the final of the men’s singles in Wimbledon last month. There were eleven tennis players trying to do so since Fred Perry’s victory in 1936.
Imagine the buzz.
The Saturday papers all had their front pages covered. The nation’s hope spread out in editorials and spilled onto other pages. As if there were no other news on the planet that day.
Came Sunday afternoon, flashing on the BBC screen before the match:
“It is not about the money.
It is not about the fame.
It is not even about the glory.
It is about making history.”
He promised to fight his absolute heart out. The home crowd in Centre Court cheered. Cheered him on.
In the Royal Box Duchess of Cambridge and her sister; the Prime Minister and his mother; Beckham and his wife; and 15 million in front of the TV cheered. Cheered him on.
He’s getting closer.
Not close enough though. 6-4 , 5-7 , 3-6 , 4-6.
There were tears of disappointment in the emotionally shattering defeat. For the first time, he wore his heart on his sleeve. He lost the final, but finally won the heart of the nation.
28 days later. On the same turf, against the same opponent, this time for the Olympic gold. If he triumphed, he would be the first Briton to win the Olympic singles gold medal since 1908.
There used to be a joke that he was a Brit while competing, but a Scot in defeat. It took an Olympic medal for him to become definitively British.
His new coach Ivan Lendl has said that the important thing is to keep banging on the door, until it opens. It has been a long time coming for him.
Andy Murray. Olympic champion.
“I hope this will give me the confidence to go there and believe in myself a bit more than I have in the past.” US Open in 3 weeks’ time.
In case you haven’t heard of The Curse of Cameron through the grapevine, the record said it all. Before the 2011 Australian Open final, the Prime Minister told Murray he would be cheering him on. After this year’s Wimbledon semi-final, he again said he would be getting right behind him. See what happened.
Please somebody advises the Prime Minister not to send his good luck wishes this time. Just in case.