Article: How Murray broke the 77-year-old jinx

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How Murray broke the 77-year-old jinx

Lessons from the Wimbledon – The three top qualities that helped the Briton nail the trophy
 

The decision to hire Lendl was a masterstroke that has now helped Murray to greatness

 

<Lessons from the Wimbledon – The three top qualities that helped the Briton nail the trophy

After Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer bowed out of Wimbledon early, it was just a matter of time before Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray met on the Centre Court for the Wimbledon Men’s Final. And what a match it turned out to be!  

Though the match lasted only three sets, the finish was nail-biting. The final scorecard read: 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. For Murray, who was playing his second Wimbledon final this year, the weight of expectations of millions of Britons and ardent fans, it was the hardest points he had to play for in his life.

The story was very different 12 months ago. Murray ploughed his way to the final last year, only to be defeated by Federer. The defeat proved to be too much for Murray who broke down into tears. All this pales in comparison to Wimbledon – Murray knew if he had to make history, it had to be here.  

Many had predicted that Murray, who lost his first three Grand Slam finals without winning a set, would join the list of other Britons like Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski who came close enough to the trophy but did not have the luck to lift it. But, the Briton finally broke the 77-year-old jinx on the seventh day of the seventh month of 2013.

Murray is the first British male Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry in 1936. So, what did Murray do different? Here are the top three qualities that helped Murray attain the impossible:

“The story of my career is that I had a lot of tough losses,” Murray said after the match. “But, the one thing I would say is that every year I always improved a little bit. They weren’t major improvements, massive changes, but every year my ranking was going in the right direction.”

The boy from Dunblane has come a long way since he won the Junior US Open as an 18-year-old. Though he has reached seven Grand Slam finals, he has won only one other Grand Slam before the Wimbledon –2012 US Open.

A month after the defeat at Wimbledon finals last year, where he lost to Federer, an obstinate Murray blasted his way to a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics by defeating Federer in straight sets. He followed this up by defeating Djokovic at the US Open last year.  

He began his 2013 ATP World Tour Season by winning a second-straight Brisbane International title, dispatching Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(0), 6-4. It's the sixth time the Scot has managed a title defence and it was his 25th tour-level singles title.

Murray broke into the Top four in 2011, but had not won a single Grand Slam title. Murray reached the Australian Open final and the semifinals of the other three Grand Slams last season. He has lost in two other major finals -- the 2010 Australian Open and 2008 U.S. Open. So, he roped in former World No. 1 and tennis great Ivan Lendl just before the Australian Open in 2012. This raised a lot of eyebrows as Lendl was often criticized for being a boring, machine-like player.

However, the appointment of Lendl as his coach had soon started paying rich dividends.

In 2012, he finished a career record ranking of No. 3, won three titles – the US Open, Brisbane International and the London Olympics – and reached four other finals, including his first at Wimbledon. Compiled a 56-16 match record, 4th time with at least 55 wins and was the first British man to win singles gold medal since 1908.

In 2013, he finished runner-up in his third Australian Open final, losing to Djokovic in straight sets. This was not before he beat Federer in the semi-finals in a five-setter.

Currently, Murray has two Grand Slam titles in his kitty and is ranked World No. 2.

Murray knew that in order to be the best in the world, you have to train with the best in the world. The decision to hire Lendl was a masterstroke that has now helped Murray to greatness.

He also knew that playing against Djokovic will not be easy. In a column for BBC, Murray writes, “I need to play a very solid match from start to finish and fight for every single point, because Novak doesn't give you too many cheap games or mistakes. I just have to be stubborn and not give too much away.”

Murray knew he could not fool around with Djokovic and well he did not. “I went through all the tactics with my team last night, and we will have another small chat before the match, but I prefer to go over the main details the night before so that I have time to actually process them, rather than doing it 10 minutes before we play,” he wrote in the column.

During the Wimbledon finals, Djokovic looked a bit shaky. Sensing this, Murray went for the kill. “The bottom line is that he was a better player in decisive moments,” said Djokovic, who still leads Murray 11-8 in their career head-to-head, in a post-match conference. “He played fantastic tennis, no question about it. He deserved to win.” 

Image credit: FlashStudio / Shutterstock.com

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