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First Wimbledon was for Britain - 'This one's for myself'

Published:Monday | July 11, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Andy Murray of Britain kisses his trophy after beating Milos Raonic of Canada in the men's singles final on day fourteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London yesterday.

LONDON (AP):

Andy Murray's first Wimbledon championship was for his country.

This one was for Andy Murray.

Dulling big serves with quick-reflex returns, conjuring up daring passing shots and playing impressively mistake-free tennis all the while, Murray beat Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2) yesterday for his second trophy at the All England Club and third Grand Slam title overall.

In 2013, Murray famously ended Britain's 77-year wait for one of their own to win the men's final at Wimbledon, a quest that became burdensome.

Now he wanted a victory to end his personal rut of three consecutive losses in major finals, including at the Australian Open in January and French Open last month.

"It is different. I feel happier this time. I feel more content this time. I feel like this was sort of more for myself more than anything and my team as well," the second-seeded Murray said. "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."

This was his 11th Grand Slam final, but the first against someone other than Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer. The sixth-seeded Raonic eliminated Federer in five sets in the semi-finals on Friday and also defeated the player who stunned Djokovic in the third round, Sam Querrey.

Those wins helped Raonic become the first man representing Canada to reach a major final.

He did it, primarily, by averaging 251/2 aces through six matches. But on a breezy afternoon, at a Centre Court filled with nearly 15,000 partisan fans, Murray shut down that integral part of Raonic's game.

"This one's going to sting," Raonic said.

It's been a rough few weeks for Britain, with their vote to leave the European Union, the drop of the pound's value and the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron, who was seated in the front row of the Royal Box yesterday, several seats over from Prince William and his wife, Kate.

 

POLITICAL JOKE

 

During the trophy presentation, Murray joked: "Playing in a Wimbledon final's tough, but I certainly wouldn't like to be a prime minister. It's an impossible job."

Murray, a 29-year-old from Scotland, long dealt with the expectations that accompanied being Britain's best chance to find a male champion to succeed Fred Perry, who last won the grass-court tournament in 1936. After yesterday's victory, Murray's mother, former British Fed Cup captain Judy, referred to that old phenomenon as: "The constant, 'When are you going to win Wimbledon? When are you going to win Wimbledon? When are you going to win Wimbledon'?"

But her son has dealt with that and thrived, thanks to a counter-punching game and sublime returns of serve.

It took Raonic 36 minutes and five service games to record his first ace and he wound up with only eight. Over and over, Murray managed to get the ball back, even one that came in at 147 mph.

And while Murray only broke Raonic once, to lead 4-3 in the opening set, that was all it took because the tiebreakers were surprisingly one-way traffic.

Murray also took 50 of 65 points he served across the first two sets, not only never facing so much as a break point in that span, but also being pushed to deuce merely once.