Monday, July 11, 2016

Resilient Murray sobs after second Wimbledon title

Andy Murray has overcome tremendous adversity to win three Grand Slam
singles titles. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Of the Big Four in men's tennis, Andy Murray has encountered the most adversity.
   By far.
   Yes, Novak Djokovic's native Serbia was bombed by NATO forces in 1999, when he turned 12.
   Yes, Roger Federer's beloved former coach, Peter Carter of Australia, died in a car accident in South Africa a week before Federer's 21st birthday in 2002.
   Yes, Rafael Nadal, who's tied for second place with 14 career Grand Slam singles titles, has been in a prolonged funk.
   Then there's Murray. He was unharmed -- physically, at least -- in the 1996 school massacre in Dunblane, Scotland, at 8 years old. Also, his parents split up when he was 10.
   That's not all. Shortly after becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years in 2013, Murray underwent back surgery.
   And Murray was 2-8 in Grand Slam finals, including 0-5 in the Australian Open, entering Sunday. All of the losses had come against either Djokovic or Federer.
   Is it any wonder that the intensely competitive Murray sobbed into his towel and then his hands after beating hard-serving Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2) for his second Wimbledon title?
   "I've had some great moments here and also some tough losses," said the 29-year-old Murray, who speaks in a monotone and rarely cracks a smile in interviews. "And obviously, the wins feel extra special because of the tough losses."
Milos Raonic had only eight aces in the
final, far under his previous average in
the tournament. 2016 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Murray and Raonic left an indelible impression on Northern California tennis in the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose. Not only did they combine for five singles titles, including their first on the ATP World Tour, they went undefeated in the indoor tournament. Raonic, in fact, never lost a set.
   Murray won the SAP Open in 2006 at 18 and repeated in 2007, going 10-0 overall. Raonic earned the first of his three straight SAP Open titles at 20 in 2011 and finished 13-0 with two byes. The tournament ended a 125-year run after the 2013 edition.
   The 6-foot-3 (1.90-meter) Murray used his experience, agility, superb return-of-serve and groundstrokes (especially his two-handed backhand), and home advantage on Sunday to subdue Raonic, a 25-year-old Canadian who had ousted Federer in five sets to reach his first Grand Slam final.
   "This one's going to sting," conceded the sixth-seeded Raonic, a consummate professional who vowed again to do everything in his power to win a Slam.
   Murray committed only 12 unforced errors, just two in the second set, saved both break points against him and blocked back serves at up to 147 mph (236.6 kph).
   The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Raonic, who had averaged 25.5 aces in his first six matches at Wimbledon, had only eight in the final on a breezy afternoon.
   Murray, seeded second, recorded the only break in the match to lead 4-3 in the first set and stormed to 6-1 leads in both tiebreakers.
   Raonic normally dominates tiebreakers with his big serve. But this was a case of a champion rising to the occasion and a Grand Slam final novice feeling the pressure.

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