The new King of Grass?
Andy Murray thrilled his homecountry fans by claiming a second title in four years at Wimbledon on Sunday, defeating first-time Grand Slam finalist Milos Raonic of Canada 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-6(2).
The Murray return of serve was key in deflecting the power of the giant-serving Raonic, winning a second title at the All England Club after ending Britain’s 77-year title drought in 2013.
“I feel happier this time,” Murray said. “I feel more content this time. I feel like this was sort of more for myself more than anything, and my team as well. We’ve all worked really hard to help get me in this position.
“Last time it was just pure relief, and I didn’t really enjoy the moment as much, whereas I’m going to make sure I enjoy this one more than the others. You just kind of get dragged in all sorts of different directions afterwards. I want to spend this time with my family and my closest friends, the people that I work with. That’s who I want to be around right now. I’ll make sure I spend a lot of time with them over the next couple of days. Yeah, look forward to that.”
Murray improved to 3-8 in Grand Slam finals after his first title match against someone other than Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.
“This is the most important tournament for me every year,” an emotional Murray said. “I’ve had some great moments here, but also some tough losses. The win feels extra special because of the tough losses.”
Raonic averaged more than 25 aces a match during the tournament leading to the final, where the Murray return limited the Canadian to eight total (Murray finished with one fewer at seven). But he didn’t bring the high heat as much as he did leading into the final. And the nerves may have got the best of him.
“He moves incredibly well, he returns well — those are his two biggest strengths, and he’s been playing well,” said Raonic, whose movement looked stilted in comparison. “Every time you play him, you know he’s going to get more returns back than anyone else, along with Novak [Djokovic].”
After his stunning win over Roger Federer in five sets on Friday, the 25-year-old Raonic was the first Canadian man in history to reach a Grand Slam final. Eugenie Bouchard did the same on the women’s side in 2014 when she lost to Petra Kvitova.
“I’m going to work on everything. I’m not going to leave any stone unturned,” Raonic said. “I’m going to try to get myself back in this position, try to be better in this position.
“I’m going to try to get fitter, stronger … There’s not one thing that I’m not going to try to improve.”
Murray broke Raonic only once, and gave little ground on his own serve, never facing a break point until the third set. Murray finished the match with only 12 unforced errors while Raonic had 29 compared to 39 winners for both guys.
“I played really good stuff today,” Murray added. “Milos has had a great few weeks on the grass and had some unbelievable wins. His match against Roger in the semis was a great, great match. He is one of the hardest workers out there, always trying to improve and get better.”
Murray improves to 7-3 against Raonic winning their last six including all four this season dealing Raonic and new coach John McEnroe both of their grass losses.
In a light moment, the normally-tightly-wound Murray lost his composure midway through the match, gesturing wildly and spouting obscenities when apparently his coach Ivan Lendl left his players’ box to go to the restroom.
And during the fortnight Murray lost just two sets in the event winning his last seven without facing a single set point.
The win also puts Murray, who has reached the finals at his last five events and all three Slams this season, within a reasonable striking distance for Djokovic for the No. 1 ranking.
“If I want to add to three Slams, I’m going to have to find ways to win against them,” Murray said. “It’s very rare that you get through a Slam without playing Novak, Roger or Rafa. But I still feel like my best tennis is ahead of me, that I have an opportunity to win more. Everyone’s time comes at different stages. Some come in their early 20s, some mid-20s. Hopefully mine is still to come.”
Several dignitaries were at the match including Prince William and Kate, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Bradley Cooper, Irina Shayk, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugh Grant and many former tennis greats.
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