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December 10, 2023

Murray Wins 2nd Wimby Championship

By Howard Fendrich/LONDON (AP) — After Britain famously endured a 77-year wait between Wimbledon men’s champions, Andy Murray has given the host country a pair of titles in quick succession.

Murray dulled booming serves with quick-reflex returns, played impressively mistake-free tennis while coming up with daring passing shots and beat Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2) for his second trophy at the All England Club since 2013 and third Grand Slam championship overall.

When he sat in his sideline chair after it was over, Murray wiped away tears with a tournament towel.

“Last time, I was so relieved. I felt … just so much stress and pressure and didn’t really get the chance to enjoy it as much,” Murray said. “So I’ll make sure I enjoy this one tonight, for sure.”

The second-seeded Murray was playing in his 11th major final, but the first against someone other than Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.

He didn’t need to face either of those rivals this fortnight: The sixth-seeded Raonic eliminated Federer in five sets in the semifinals, and also defeated the player who stunned Djokovic in the third round, Sam Querrey.

Those wins helped Raonic become the first man representing Canada to reach a major final.

He did it, primarily, with speedy and intimidating serves, averaging 25½ aces. But on a breezy afternoon, at a Centre Court filled with nearly 15,000 partisan fans, Murray shut down that integral part of Raonic’s game.

“This one’s going to sting,” said Raonic, who recently brought John McEnroe aboard as a coaching consultant.

Murray, a 29-year-old from Scotland, long dealt with the expectations that accompanied being the locals’ best chance to find a champion to succeed Fred Perry, who won the tournament in 1936. But Murray has thrived, with a counter-punching, defensive game and sublime returns of serve.

Murray made only 12 unforced errors, including two in the second set.  “Really good stuff,” Murray said.

He had lost his most recent three Grand Slam finals, all to Djokovic, including at the Australian Open and French Open, as well as the Australian Open in 2015. He avoided becoming the first man in history to be the runner-up at a season’s first three majors.

Those three recent setbacks came without Ivan Lendl by his side, though. They worked together when Murray won his first two Slam trophies, including at the 2012 U.S. Open, then split up, before reuniting.

Once again, the partnership paid off, and at Wimbledon, no less.

“This is obviously the most important tournament for me, every year,” Murray said. “I’m proud to have my hands on the trophy again.”

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

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