Playing controlled tennis for 2 hours and 47 minutes, Great Britain’s Andy Murray lifted the Wimbledon trophy for the second time. In 2013, Murray had defeated Novak Djokovic in the final to win the championship for the first time. On Sunday, the Brit had Canada’s big-serving Milos Raonic playing against him on the other side. Though Murray looked a better player throughout the match, Raonic didn’t yield easily. He dropped his service just once in the first set and kept Murray on toe all through. The second and third sets were decided on tiebreaks with Murray bringing up a superior display. It proved to be a great day for sports in Britain as Murray’s famous triumph was preceded by Lewis Hamilton winning the British Formula-1 GP at Silverstone. Sunday’s final was attended by famous celebrities from all walks of life, including the British Prime Minister David Cameroon. Murray suffered from emotional upheavals through the match on several occasions, especially when he got ready to serve. But he managed to check himself and carried on. It all seemed natural because of big-stage pressure and a heavy burden of expectations from the jam-packed Wimbledon crowd. When he finally won, he went to his chair and wept uncontrollably. But the Brit had already overwhelmed the center court crowd on Sunday.
Murray achieved fatherhood in February 2016, soon after the Australian Open. Since then, he has been radiating a sense of inner contentment and his performance on tennis courts has seen a vast improvement. He also had a change in his coaching team with Ivan Lendl returning as the head. On the strength of his performance alone, Murray had an edge on Milos Raonic on Sunday but the Canadian is no less a gifted player. Raonic was not overawed by the occasion nor by the tag of the first-time entrant into the final of world’s most cherished tennis tournament. His service speed exceeded 140 mph at times but Murray is also known as one of the best returners of the service in the game. The Scot found a way to put Raonic’s booming service deliveries back into the court most often. If Raonic lost on Sunday, it was because his unforced error-count of 29 far exceeded Murray’s 12. The Canadian muffed several chances in net-play to benefit Murray.
The match started with Raonic serving first. Murray earned a break chance in the third game but Raonic saved it. In the seventh game, however, Raonic was down two break points and could only save one. An unduly rushed shot from the Canadian hit the net on the second break point and Murray led 4-3 with his service to follow. There were no other hiccups as Murray went into the second set having won the first 6-4. They went on serves all the way, although Murray had some break chances in between. Raonic’s service was working and he held comfortably in all his six games. However, in the inevitable tiebreak, Murray forced his way against a floundering Raonic and held several set points at 6-1. Raonic saved two but couldn’t survive and Murray led 2-0 on sets.
The first four games of the third set were uneventful but suddenly Murray found himself in trouble for the first time in the match. Raonic had forced two break points in the fifth game against the 2013 champion. When Murray managed to save both break points, he volubly appealed to the crowd for getting behind him for the rest of the match. They didn’t disappoint their hero and applauded him every inch of the way. With both players serving admirably, there were service holds throughout and the match slipped into another tiebreak. Murray carried the winning momentum into the tiebreak and led 5-0. After that, Raonic could only manage just 2 points and Murray finished with a well-deserved 6-4, 7-6, 7-6 victory.
Besides the immaculate service returns, another key to Murray’s victory was keeping the unforced error count low. Raonic had come into this match with 137 aces in the tournament but such was Murray’s capacity to return that the Canadian managed his 138th only after an hour into the match. On another occasion during the match, the Canadian fired his speediest service of the tournament at 147 mph but Murray not only returned the missile; he won that point with a brilliant pass. At the end of the match, Murray was overcome by raw emotions as he sobbed uncontrollably on his chair before recovering and claiming the cherished prize.
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