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Murray's inspirational triumph
10:45am Tuesday 11th September 2012 in Sport
Forget 76 years of hurt. Forget five hours of agony. Forget that third and fourth set fightback, that final set shoot-out. Forget decades of nearly-men and never-quite-good-enoughs. Tension - what tension? There was surely only ever one way in which this triumphant sporting summer was going to end.
Barely had the sun been allowed to set on the victorious Olympians' parade through the centre of London before Andy Murray was striking another historic moment in Great Britain's illustrious sporting year three and a half thousand miles away in New York.
The London Olympics have sent a surge of belief coursing through the nation's sporting veins, and that new-found spirit could not be exemplified by anyone better than the man who tonight was crowned Britain's first men's Grand Slam champion since Fred Perry.
After all, Andy Murray had book-ended this unforgettable summer. Back in July, when doubts still swirled and cynicism still prevailed, he had exited the All England Club in tears after falling to Roger Federer and failing to win a major final at the fourth attempt.
Tonight in America, Murray's epic victory over Novak Djokovic heralded not only the end of an astonishing personal journey but also the transformation of his nation from one once withered by ambivalence and cynicism, but which now truly believes in the possibilities of all elite sports.
Murray had returned in the midst of the Olympic euphoria to take gold over the same man on the same court where his Wimbledon dream was dashed, but deep down there were never really any doubts about where the young Scot's priorities lay.
That fervent desire to end a preposterous wait for a British men's major champion led Murray out over the Atlantic while those with whom he had shared in the Olympic success soaked up the adulation for their own achievements in the watery London sun.
From the moment he broke Djokovic to love in the opening game of a gripping, gruelling final, there was the inescapable feeling that this time things were going to be different. By the time Murray had raced into a double-break lead in the second, the post-Games blues were well and truly banished.
Djokovic did his best to face fate head on. He twice clambered back from a break down in the first set, potentially so pivotal in such gusty, attritional conditions. He clawed back from 4-0 down in the second to lead 5-4: again, Murray stood agonisingly close to suffering on the wrong end of a match-turning moment. He stormed back to take the third, to break early in the fourth, and once again Murray's maiden Grand Slam title looked as far away as ever.
But even in those heart-fluttering times, there were not so many sighs of 'same old story'; instead a determination freshly hewn from the knowledge that over the past two months in London, 63 elite British Olympians and Paralympians, including Murray himself, had simply refused to accept second best.
Finally, Andy Murray's moment to elevate his name among his sport's true greats had come. He dredged up the spirit to come out punching for the fifth and final set. The latest and last of this summer's mountain of indelible sporting images will show him overflowing with the pure relief of his historic achievement.
Forget, for now, where he goes from here, where he ranks in history, whether he'll win Sports Personality of the Year, whether he's British or Scottish, whether he smiles enough, whether his win will make him more of a marketable commodity.
This summer, we have surged into a quite different British sporting landscape: one in which we have found ourselves able to celebrate sporting success for its own pure beauty. And Andy Murray's triumph in New York tonight was as beautiful as it comes.