Andy Murray ends Great Britain's 76-year drought with epic U.S. Open win over Novak Djokovic

Martin Rogers
Yahoo Sports

Who knows whether it was a set of historical coincidences, the temperamental New York weather or just, at long last, it was finally Andy Murray's time. Whatever the case, Murray ended British tennis' 76-year drought without a men's Grand Slam tennis championship on Monday, a curse that didn't have the hype of a Bambino but whose passing was greeted with sheer delight in the United Kingdom.

View photo

.

Andy Murray kisses his trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open final. (Reuters)

Murray, in danger of becoming modern tennis' nearly-man after four previous defeats in major finals, outlasted defending champion Novak Djokovic in an epic five-set match (7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2) at Flushing Meadows in conditions made unpredictable by the wind swirling around the Big Apple.

Yet, while the 25-year-old from Scotland certainly adapted better than his Serbian opponent, those who believe in fate will surely be unable to resist alluding to a series of factors that made this victory seem as if it was written in the stars.

Ever since Murray emerged five years ago as a player who could regularly mix it with the best in the world, he has, in effect, been chasing Fred Perry. Perry, the enigmatic star of the courts in the 1930s when prize money was banned and players wore long pants, was the last Brit to win a Slam before turning pro and going on to found a sportswear empire.

Perry won eight majors, the last being the 1936 U.S. Open. His first major title came at the U.S. Open three years earlier on Sept. 10, 1933.

Murray's first title also came on Sept. 10, at the U.S. Open, his on the heels of winning Olympic gold last month in London.

To add further fuel to a coincidental fire, this year marks the Diamond Jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. The last Brit to win a Grand Slam came when Virginia Wade won the Wimbledon women's crown in 1977 – the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee (25 years as monarch).

It was the positive vibes created by Murray's Olympic title, combined with the injury-enforced absence of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's surprise quarterfinal exit, that led some to speculate that Murray may never get a better opportunity than this one.

His four finals appearances prior to this one had yielded only a single set victory, the opener against Federer in this year's Wimbledon final, and a strong start was vital here if he was to get a foothold against a favored Djokovic, who was nursing a 27-match winning streak in Slam matches held on hard courts.

Murray broke in the first game but the advantage of service was somewhat negated by both the wind and the excellence of these two as returners. The Brit squeaked through a record tiebreaker – Murray won 12-10, the longest tiebreak in a men's title match in the tournament's history – to raise genuine hope back home, where millions surely tuned in deep into the night.

[Related: A fist-pumping Sean Connery celebrates Murray’s first grand slam win]

Murray faces enormous pressure in Britain, what with the screaming tabloids and that historical barren run to cope with. He even had the eyes of two of Scotland's most famous sons watching him in Flushing: James Bond legend Sean Connery and Manchester United soccer coach Sir Alex Ferguson.

Seemingly unfazed by either the occasion or the attention, Murray began the second set brilliantly, storming to a 4-0 and 5-1 lead. But then Djokovic showed the sort of heights he has regularly attained over the past couple of years in becoming the most regular Slam champion during that time.

He broke back once, then again to level it at 5-5, then started to make inroads into the Murray serve once more. Murray dug deep, though, holding his serve and then breaking Djokovic again courtesy of a surprising muffed smash from the world No.2.

It looked as if Murray's relaxed approach was working. He prepared on Sunday night by watching "Wedding Crashers" and playing Scrabble, and showed none of the nerves from his other finals appearances.

Djokovic was not going away, though, and after breaking early in the third was gratified to see his groundstrokes settling into their usual rhythm. He took the set 6-2 and, despite still trailing, had momentum firmly with him.

A break to start the fourth tilted things into Djokovic's favor again and with his serve now firing, the reigning champ was full of flair and confidence. Fist-pumping and firing up the crowd, Djokovic had no intention of surrendering meekly and pushed the contest into a deciding fifth set.

The fifth was a tussle but it was Murray's tussle. He raced into a 3-0 lead and although Djokovic broke right back, it was Murray who had the greater will on this occasion as his destiny approached, nearly five hours after the match started.

He broke for the third time in the set to lead 5-2, then closed it out with a flawless service game.

At last, after all the waiting, all the disappointment and all that weight of history, the curse was lifted and a new champion was crowned.

"It's the best feeling for me," Murray told the television audience. "After the tough loss at Wimbledon to have have won the Olympics and now here is amazing.

"I got asked about it a lot, most weeks to be honest, why I hadn't won a grand slam," he continued. "Was it a mental thing? Was it to my tennis? It was probably a combination of a few things. I was competing against great, great players as well. I doubted it a little bit, but so happy that I managed to get through."

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Photos: Andy Murray wins first Grand Slam
Jeff Passan's 10 Degrees: As heat rises, Yankees' Joe Girardi tries to avoid September meltdown
Doctor: Surgery stabilizes Tulane player's spine
Y! News: You don't bring a 3D printer to a gun fight – yet

  • Northwestern players to cast historic union vote

    Northwestern players to cast historic union vote

    Northwestern University's football players will cast secret ballots Friday on whether to form the nation's first union for college athletes - a potentially landmark vote that will be kept sealed for months and possibly years. The National Labor … More »

    AP - Sports - 4 minutes 38 seconds ago
  • New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for 2015 unveiling: alumni

    New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for 2015 unveiling: alumni

    By David DeKok HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach" is set to begin two years after his image was removed from Penn State University because of a … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • George Hincapie offers an unvarnished look at cycling in new memoir

    George Hincapie offers an unvarnished look at cycling in new memoir

    George Hincapie was the "Loyal Lieutenant" who helped Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France titles, only to later provide the key testimony that brought his downfall. Now, Hincapie is talking again about one of the darkest eras in cycling. In a … More »

    The Canadian Press - 7 minutes ago
  • Texas checking Kouzmanoff back before Beltre move

    Texas checking Kouzmanoff back before Beltre move

    Texas third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff was scheduled to be evaluated Friday at home by a back specialist before the Rangers make a roster move to activate Adrian Beltre from the disabled list. Kouzmanoff, who is hitting .362 in 13 games and is the … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago
  • Gomez helps spark aggressive Brewers' hot start

    Gomez helps spark aggressive Brewers' hot start

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Brewers' new leadoff hitter can aggravate pitchers by slugging homers or stealing bases. Carlos Gomez is flustering foes, and his energetic approach has helped Milwaukee jump out to the best record in baseball. … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • Armstrong teammate Hincapie pens stark memoir

    Armstrong teammate Hincapie pens stark memoir

    George Hincapie was the ''Loyal Lieutenant'' who helped Lance Armstrong to seven Tour de France titles, only to later provide the key testimony that brought his downfall. Now, Hincapie is talking again about one of the darkest eras in cycling. In … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago
  • Hicks homers, Twins beat Rays 9-7

    Hicks homers, Twins beat Rays 9-7

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Sam Fuld had enjoyed plenty of success at Tropicana Field. For the Minnesota Twins, big moments in the ballpark had been fleeting. … More »

    AP - Sports - 11 minutes ago
  • NCAA proposal for governance change

    Highlights from the proposal to change the NCAA's governance structure, which was endorsed Thursday by the NCAA's board of directors. A formal vote is not expected until the board's quarterly meeting in August: - The five biggest football … More »

    AP - Sports - 13 minutes ago
  • Colorado PG Dinwiddie entering NBA draft

    Colorado PG Dinwiddie entering NBA draft

    Spencer Dinwiddie expects to be healthy and wealthy by summer's end. The University of Colorado star point guard announced Thursday he's skipping his senior season and will declare for the NBA draft. Dinwiddie said at a news conference in Boulder, … More »

    AP - Sports - 16 minutes ago
  • Former Rangers great Jardine dies aged 65

    Former Rangers and Scotland defender Sandy Jardine has died at the age of 65 after battling cancer for 18 months, the Glasgow club said on Thursday. Jardine made almost 800 appearances for Rangers, winning three league titles, and was twice voted … More »

    Reuters - 16 minutes ago
  • Buffalo Bills hire Gerald Dixon as pro scout

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Bills have hired Gerald Dixon as a pro scout. … More »

    AP - Sports - 19 minutes ago
  • NCAA endorses more power for big schools

    NCAA endorses more power for big schools

    The NCAA's board of directors took the first step toward shifting power to the five largest football conferences on Thursday, endorsing a 57-page plan that calls for giving 65 of the nation's biggest schools more autonomy in how to fund … More »

    AP - Sports - 19 minutes ago
  • US ski coach gets 4 months for money laundering

    The head coach of the U.S. Alpine speed team, Andreas Evers, was fired by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association on Thursday, hours after the Austrian was sentenced to four months in prison plus 20 months on probation for money laundering. ''Core … More »

    AP - Sports - 23 minutes ago
  • Sevilla earn two-goal cushion against Valencia

    Stephane MBia and Carlos Bacca were on target for Sevilla as they took a big step towards reaching the Europa League final with a 2-0 victory over Valencia on Thursday. The Andalusian side continued their good form which has seen them win nine of … More »

    Reuters - 24 minutes ago
  • Richmond hoping track access boosts fan experience

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- They are calling it ''Track Takeover'' at Richmond International Raceway, and it's an idea that track President Dennis Bickmeier hopes will not only improve the experience NASCAR fans have only hours before cars start racing on … More »

    AP - Sports - 24 minutes ago
  • Ducks stumble home even with Dallas for Game 5

    Ducks stumble home even with Dallas for Game 5

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Two-thirds of the Anaheim Ducks' top line is injured, including their captain and leading scorer. Their most beloved player has been benched, and their rookie goalie looks shakier with every game. … More »

    AP - Sports - 28 minutes ago
  • Henrik Zetterberg a game-time decision for Red Wings in all-important Game 4

    Henrik Zetterberg a game-time decision for Red Wings in all-important Game 4

    The Detroit Red Wings' locker room is bursting with new life. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 29 minutes ago
  • No Bills cheerleaders in 2014 after suit

    Pack up the pom-poms in Buffalo, because the Bills will be playing without the support of their official cheerleaders this year. Stephanie Mateczun, whose company manages the Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad, said Thursday she has suspended … More »

    AP - Sports - 31 minutes ago
  • Benfica and Sevilla secure Europa League wins

    Benfica and Sevilla secure Europa League wins

    By Toby Davis LONDON (Reuters) - A stunning late goal from Brazilian Lima gave Benfica a 2-1 victory over Juventus in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final while Sevilla won 2-0 against Valencia to seize the initiative in their … More »

    Reuters - 32 minutes ago
  • Yankees lose Nova to Tommy John surgery

    Yankees lose Nova to Tommy John surgery

    BOSTON (AP) -- New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova has decided to have season-ending Tommy John surgery for a partially torn elbow ligament. … More »

    AP - Sports - 34 minutes ago
  • Jason Collins named one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people, for good reason

    Jason Collins named one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people, for good reason

    The impact of the Brooklyn Nets center continues to be felt. … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 35 minutes ago
  • Yankees RHP Pineda suspended 10 games

    Yankees RHP Pineda suspended 10 games

    New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games Thursday after being caught using pine tar. ''I accept it,'' Pineda said before Thursday night's game at Fenway Park. Pineda was ejected in the second inning of Wednesday night's … More »

    AP - Sports - 41 minutes ago
  • Owners to discuss expanded playoffs

    Owners to discuss expanded playoffs

    The NFL will discuss expanded playoffs at the owners' meetings next month in Atlanta. Commissioner Roger Goodell told a gathering of Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday that a vote is uncertain on the proposal to add two teams to the … More »

    AP - Sports - 46 minutes ago
  • Pagenaud still upset with Power over Long Beach

    A week off did nothing to mellow the tension between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power stemming from contact between the two at Long Beach. Pagenaud refused to accept an apology from Power following the April 13 race in which Pagenaud was spun from … More »

    AP - Sports - 52 minutes ago
  • Florida diving coach killed in boating accident

    University of Florida diving coach Donnie Craine died Thursday morning in a boating accident off the coast of Bokeelia, the school announced. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is investigating the accident, says two … More »

    AP - Sports - 53 minutes ago
  • Optimistic Arizona Cardinals begin conditioning

    Optimistic Arizona Cardinals begin conditioning

    TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The optimistic Arizona Cardinals began work this week under an intense new conditioning coach in their first formal gathering to prepare for the coming season. … More »

    AP - Sports - 55 minutes ago
  • Reds beat Pirates for seventh win in 9

    Reds beat Pirates for seventh win in 9

    Considering the Cincinnati Reds started the year at 3-8, however, they were happy to get their record to 11-11 on Thursday. Ryan Ludwick lined a two-run double after two batters were hit by pitches, lifting Tony Cingrani and the Reds over the … More »

    AP - Sports - 55 minutes ago
  • Blues, Blackhawks prepare for key Game 5

    Blues, Blackhawks prepare for key Game 5

    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- One more game, and the Chicago Blackhawks will have linchpin defenseman Brent Seabrook back in the lineup. … More »

    AP - Sports - 57 minutes ago
  • CB Trufant retires as Seahawk

    CB Trufant retires as Seahawk

    When it was clear Marcus Trufant's time with the Seattle Seahawks was over following the 2012 season, he was given a message by general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll on his way out. If it became apparent that Trufant was ready to … More »

    AP - Sports - 59 minutes ago
  • McRoberts fined $20K for foul on James

    McRoberts fined $20K for foul on James

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts was fined $20,000 by the NBA on Thursday for making unnecessary and excessive contact with Miami Heat forward LeBron James. … More »

    AP - Sports - 59 minutes ago
  • Arizona's Bolsinger gets first MLB win

    Arizona's Bolsinger gets first MLB win

    Mike Bolsinger earned his first major league win, pitching into the seventh inning and hitting an RBI single as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 5-2 Thursday. Bolsinger (1-1) allowed one unearned run and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 0 minutes ago
  • Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda suspended 10 games for using pine tar

    Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda suspended 10 games for using pine tar

    BOSTON - New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday for using pine tar to help him grip the ball. "I accept it," Pineda said before Thursday's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 10 minutes ago
  • Impact brass confident new coach Klopas can turn around bad MLS season start

    MONTREAL - Montreal Impact management are confident that new coach Frank Klopas will get the team back on track after a horrendous start to the Major League Soccer season. Sporting director Nick De Santis said Thursday that Klopas has done a good … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 11 minutes ago
  • NBA fines Josh McRoberts $20K for forearm to LeBron James' throat, upgrades foul to flagrant-2 (Video)

    NBA fines Josh McRoberts $20K for forearm to LeBron James' throat, upgrades foul to flagrant-2 (Video)

    Despite the increased penalty and fine, the Charlotte Bobcats forward avoids suspension, and will be available for Game 3 in North Carolina. … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 1 hour 13 minutes ago
  • Canadian alpine skier and former world champion John Kucera retires

    CALGARY - John Kucera's career was shorter than he wanted but he leaves alpine ski racing knowing he achieved two firsts for Canada. … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 15 minutes ago
  • Mavs home after split in San Antonio

    Mavs home after split in San Antonio

    Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are coming home after showing they won't go quietly in a first-round series with top-seeded San Antonio. Part of the big German wants to stay in South Texas after the Mavericks squandered a strong game in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 17 minutes ago
  • Keeneland to run its final races on Polytrack

    Keeneland to run its final races on Polytrack

    When Keeneland's spring meet ends Friday, so will an era. The scenic horse racing landmark in the heart of the Bluegrass State will run its final races on the Polytrack synthetic surface before replacing its main track with dirt and a new drainage … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 20 minutes ago
  • Joey Hishon's long road from concussion recovery ends with NHL debut

    Joey Hishon's long road from concussion recovery ends with NHL debut

    On Tuesday, Joey Hishon was skating with the Colorado Avalanche’s Black Aces in Cleveland. Afterward, he was called into the coach’s office and given the news that he was being called up to the NHL. … More »

    Puck Daddy - 1 hour 20 minutes ago
  • Lubash wins Big A feature

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Lubash, making his season debut, held off Kharafa by a neck Thursday in the $62,000 allowance feature for New York breds on the turf at Aqueduct. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 22 minutes ago
  • Phelps wins first race in comeback

    Phelps wins first race in comeback

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX (Reuters) - Michael Phelps made an ominous start in his comeback to competitive swimming on Thursday, setting the fastest time in the 100 metres butterfly heats at a USA Swimming Grand Prix meet in suburban Phoenix. Racing … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 23 minutes ago