Andy Murray became the first British man in 76 years to win a grand slam singles title on Monday, fighting off defending champion Novak Djokovic to win an epic U.S. Open final.
The Scotsman, beaten in his four previous grand slam finals, made it fifth time lucky with a nerve-jangling 7-6 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 victory at a windy Arthur Ashe Stadium where the players had to battle the elements as much as each other.
With both men struggling to control the ball in the gusting winds, and battling exhaustion in a slugfest that tied the record as the longest final at Flushing Meadows, Murray emerged triumphant, proving he belongs among the game’s elite.
“I proved that I can win the grand slams,” Murray said.
“And I proved that I can last four‑and‑a‑half hours and come out on top against one of the strongest guys physically that tennis had probably seen, especially on this surface.
“(I learned) to not doubt myself physically and mentally from now on. I’m sure that would have a positive impact in the future.”
After losing the first two sets, Djokovic suddenly raised his game to win the next two and force a deciding fifth set, seizing the momentum as Murray started to wilt.
But as Murray’s supporters, including actor Sean Connery and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, shifted uneasily in their seats, the Olympic champion regained his composure and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the final set before hanging on to seal an emotional victory.