Last season after the disappointment of losing in the Wimbledon final, Murray bested Djokovic in the semifinals and Roger Federer in the next round to earn Olympic Gold in London a few months later. That feat along with having a major under his belt, the 2012 U.S. Open, were undoubtedly confidence boosters as Murray sauntered on the court to compete.
With Rafael Nadal and Federer knocked out in the first and second round respectively, Murray was expected to walk into the final. However, in the quarterfinals, the Brit had to overcome a 2 sets to none deficit against Fernando Verdasco. Also, in the semifinals, Murray surrendered the first set before ultimately taking control against newcomer Jerzy Janowicz.
Subsequent to beating all comers in straight sets, Djokovic needed five against an injured Juan Martin Del Potro who kept coming back from the brink in the longest semifinal in the tournament’s existence 4 hours and 43 minutes.
When Djokovic and Murray collided in the 2013 Australian Open final, Murray never broke despite a myriad of chances. So, when triple break point for Murray came and went in the opening game, the nail biting began for the spectators.
Later, with a forehand up the line volley winner, Murray had his seventh break point of the initial set. He converted with a backhand down the line winner. However, the public’s joy was ephemeral. Because of a slew of miscues, Murray dropped the next game at love and the set was leveled at 2 all.
Soon though, with Djokovic’s backhand sailing long, Murray had triple break point in the seventh game. With Djokovic dumping another backhand into the net, Murray secured the break for 4-3. Murray fended off three break points before consolidating for 5-3 and down the road with a love hold bedded the set.
In the opening set, Djokovic committed 17 errors and struck 6 winners while Murray did the exact opposite. So when Djokovic turned the tables, capturing the break and swiftly jumping to a 4-1 lead in the second set, the angst of the thousands backing Murray became conspicuous.
But, Murray did not shy away from adversity. By pressuring Djokovic into mistakes after guarding serve for 2-4, Murray punished a forehand crosscourt for his third break point opportunity of the seventh game. Djokovic gifted him the next point by double faulting.
Tied at 5 a piece, after a tirade at the umpire on a perceived missed call, Djokovic flubbed a forehand crosscourt to hand Murray double break point. When Djokovic misfired on another forehand, Murray went ahead 6-5. Like the prior set, Murray guarded serve at love to take a 2 set to none advantage.
When Murray broke in the maiden game of the third set and swiftly held for 2-0. The crowd went berserk. Still, Djokovic refused to fold, digging out of 0-30 to keep the deficit at one break.
The world number one carried four consecutive games to once again have a 4-2 edge in a set. Murray clamped down one more time.
In the seventh game, the Brit grinded it out to fabricate double break point. He capitalized when Djokovic pushed a forehand pass off court. After knotting the set at 4 all, Murray crushed a forehand up the pass for double break point. With Djokovic’s next stroke not clearing the net, Murray was four points from hoisting the much coveted Wimbledon trophy.
With Murray at 40-0, triple championship point, Djokovic provided additional drama by working his way back to deuce. The Serb had three opportunities to prolong the match. But Murray would not be upstaged, coming up with clutch shots on each occasion for deuce.
With Djokovic misfiring on a volley, Murray had his fourth championship point. When Djokovic’s money stroke, the backhand failed him, Murray became the new Wimbledon winner.
Djokovic’s second Wimbledon title and his seventh major will have to wait. A disappointed Djokovic congratulated Murray saying “from my side, I gave it my all. . .you deserve this win. . .I know how much it means to you guys and the whole country. . .There’s been a lot of expectation from [Andy]. . . It was a pleasure to be part of this final”.
Djokovic recognized that Murray “was a better player in decisive moments. In both the second and third sets I was up 4-2. . .and allowed him to come back for no reason. He was getting some incredible shots on the stretch and running down drop shots. . He played fantastic tennis no question about it”.
Straight sets, but certainly not straight forward. Three hours and nine minutes on court, Murray stated “a tough match.. I don’t know how I managed to come through. . . Novak has come back from losing positions many times before and he nearly did it again today. . .I think he’ll go down as one of the biggest fighters in history”.
Quite a different posture for Murray compared to 2012, when he was in tears. Murray cited “last year was one of the toughest moments of my career. . . I understand how much everyone wanted to see a British winner. I hope you enjoyed it. . . I tried my best”.
Murray realizes that this moment is sweeter because “I learned from defeats. . .sometimes I let myself down. . .my team has been great and stuck with me. . .this is especially for [Ivan] Lendl as well because he did everything to try to win this one”.
With this victory, Murray halts a three match losing streak versus Djokovic and improves his record in finals at majors to 2-5. While Djokovic will remain at number one in the rankings, Murray has a decent shot of being number one at year’s end. Federer will slide down to the number five spot.