Andy Murray beat defending champion Novak Djokovic in five sets to win the U.S. Open, becoming the first British man to win a Grand Slam tennis event in 76 years.
Murray, 25, the No. 3 seed from Scotland, topped second- seeded Djokovic 7-6 (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 in a four-hour, 54-minute match at the National Tennis Center in New York that was delayed a day because of rain, reports Newsmax.
It was the fifth straight U.S. Open men’s final pushed to a Monday conclusion because of weather.
“Relief is probably the best word I would use to describe how I’m feeling just now,” Murray said, adding: “You do think: Is it ever going to happen?”
Murray lost his first four Grand Slam finals to share an Open-era record with coach Ivan Lendl, but like the Czech he has triumphed at the fifth time of asking.
During the post-match ceremony, Murray joked about Lendl’s reaction: “I think that was almost a smile.”
Murray earned $1.9 million for the win in Arthur Ashe Stadium, bringing his career prize money to more than $23 million. Djokovic earned $950,000 and a $500,000 bonus for having won the U.S. Open Series.
“He deserved to win this Grand Slam more than anybody,” Djokovic said of Murray. “Well, any loss is a bad loss. There is no question about it,” Djokovic said. “I’m disappointed to lose the match, but in the back of my mind I knew that I gave it all. I really, really tried to fight my way back.”
“Novak is so, so strong. He fights until the end in every single match,” Murray said. “I don’t know how I managed to come through in the end.”
Murray vs. Djokovic was a test of will as much as skill, lasting 4 hours, 54 minutes, tying the record for longest U.S. Open final.
According to the BBC, a swirling wind made conditions troublesome for both players, but it was Murray who coped better in the first two sets and eventually ended Djokovic’s title defence and 27-match hard-court winning run at majors.
“They were incredibly tricky conditions,” said the right-hander from Dunblane. “Novak is so strong, he fights until the end of every match and I don’t know how I managed to come through in the end.
After Murray won the first-set tiebreaker on his sixth set point, he took a 4-0 lead in the second set by breaking Djokovic’s serve twice. The second-seeded Djokovic stormed back to win five of the next six games, only to have the third-seeded Murray break his serve again in the 12th game to win the set.
“We both did a lot of running. It was unfortunate really to not be able to come up with big shots at the right time. It forced me to go for winners or mistakes,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately I did a lot of mistakes.”
The absence of a Grand Slam title for Murray, and for his country, has been the subject of much conversation and consternation in the United Kingdom, where the first of what would become tennis’ top titles was awarded at Wimbledon in 1877.
Djokovic, in contrast, was bidding for his sixth major trophy, fifth in the past two seasons. He had won 27 Grand Slam hard-court matches in a row.
Now Murray joins the Grand Slam club. “I think everybody’s in kind of shock,” Murray said, “that this happened.”