At the beginning of the match, ex-tennis star John McEnroe summed up the competition between Serbian Novak Djokovic and Scotsman Andy Murray at this 2013 Wimbledon Championship: Djokovic is the better player, but Murray moves better on grass. Wimbledon has been an elusive title for both Serbian Novak Djokovic and Scotsman Andy Murray. Djokovic has won the title only once before back in 2011, and Murray has not won it at all, coming close when he lost to Roger Federer in the final in 2012.
While Djokovic was eager to add another Wimbledon title to his repertoire as he attempts to establish his legacy up with that of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the greatest pressure between the two was certainly on Andy Murray, who has the entire U.K. watching him. A British man has not won the Wimbledon singles’ title since Fred Perry in 1936, and while Murray is technically Scottish, the British have adopted him for all their hopes.
Djokovic and Murray are the probably the two players in tennis with the most familiarity of how the other one plays the game. They should be, they’ve been playing each other since they were 12. These two tennis players have met 18 times as professionals, Djokovic leading 11-7. Murray, however, won their very first match against each other when they were only teenagers. They have met 8 times at Grand Slams, which they have split 4-4. Murray led on grass 1-0.
Both Djokovic and Murray faced challenging semifinal match ups on their road to the final, but Djokovic had to survive the longest semifinal before a final at Wimbledon playing against 2009 US Open champion Juan Del Potro of Argentina. By the second set, both were showing signs of fatigue, the first set lasting an hour, Murray winning 6-4.
Despite any gaps in the score, the match was close and intense. The ground strokes were hard and the deuces many, games often going to 30 strokes. As the two best returners in tennis, they played hard for each and every point, Murray serving over 130 mph and Djokovic serving at just over 120 mph. They both struggled to break each other, succeeding a few times but really having to earn it.
Down 4-1 in the second set, Murray won the next 6 out of 7 games to take the second set 7-5. He came back from 2-4 to win the third set 6-4 and take the championship in three straight sets: 6-4, 7-4, 6-4.
Djokovic made him work for it, but in the end, Andy Murray pulled out his second Grand Slam Title and first Wimbledon championship. With the crowd chanting his name, Andy Murray is the man of the hour. He’ll have some time to revel in his achievement, but soon, he’ll be heading across the pond to America to defend his U.S. Open title.
For more on the history of Wimbledon: The Heritage of Tennis
For more on Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray: Wimbledon Preview