• Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic, US Open final

Murray relief after 'finally' winning slam

ESPN staff
September 11, 2012
Andy Murray admitted he couldn't believe he had won his first grand slam © PA Photos

Andy Murray admitted that the overriding emotion following his US Open triumph was relief at winning his first grand slam in his fifth final.

Murray defeated Novak Djokovic 7-6 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in a five-set epic in New York that lasted almost five hours, and admitted a torrent of emotions hit him when the Serb blasted a forehand return long on his second match point.

"You're feeling a lot of things," Murray said. "I was obviously very emotional. I cried a little bit on the court. You're not sad; you're incredibly happy. You have a bit of disbelief because when I have been in that position many times before and not won, you do think, is it ever going to happen?

"It was an incredibly tough match. Relief is probably the word I would use to describe how I'm feeling just now. Mentally, the last three, four days have been pretty tiring. When the conditions have been like they have been, you need to focus so hard on almost every shot because the ball is very hard to control."

Murray becomes the first British man to win a grand slam singles title since Fred Perry in 1936, with Monday's triumph coming 79 years to the day after Perry's breakthrough major, also won at the US Open.

"It would have been nice to have spoken to someone from Britain who had won majors before," said Murray of Perry, who died in 1995. "I used to wear his clothing line when I was growing up.

"I'm sure he's smiling from up there that someone has finally managed to do it from Britain. I'm very, very happy, and I just hope I hope I can see another British player in my lifetime win a grand slam."

Murray said he did not think about Perry on match point, but admitted the significance of what was about to happen did hit him.

"When I was serving for the match, there was a sense of how big a moment that is in British tennis history," he said. "More than most British players, I have been asked about it many times when I got close to winning grand slams before.

"It's great to have finally done it. I hope it inspires some kids to play tennis and also that it takes away the notion that British tennis players choke or don't win - or it's not a good sport. Tennis is in a very good place in the UK right now. Laura [Robson] has done very well. The Olympics was great for us. Liam Broady was in the final here in the juniors. It's in a good place. I hope it stays that way."

Murray also revealed that he entered the final more nervous than he had been in his previous grand slam title matches, and did not know how to respond to the win.

"I was still doubting myself right up to a few minutes before I went on to play the match. You're thinking, 'are you going to be able to do this? This is going to be tough'. I have been in this position many times and not managed to get through.

"I'm thinking a lot just now," he added. "I'm thinking a lot about a lot of different things. It's hard to explain. It's been a long, long journey. I don't know if it's disbelief or whatever. I'm very, very happy on the inside; I'm sorry if I'm not showing it as you would like."

As for making the adjustment to life as a grand slam champion, Murray said: "I hope it doesn't change me as a person; that would be a bad thing.

"I'm still going to have all the same friends and family and stay in the same house and train in the same places. There may be a few more busy press conferences and a few more demands on my time, but that's part of the job and that's worth it.

"I'm very happy to be part of this era in tennis. I think everyone here would agree it's one of the best ever. Playing against [Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Djokovic] has made me improve so much. I always said that maybe if I played another era I would have won more, but I wouldn't have been as good a tennis player. Those guys are some of the best of all time."

It has been a long road to grand slam glory for Murray, with some self-inflicted hard yards. The 25-year-old admitted he "didn't always listen to all my coaches" over the years, but has grown up now.

"I was very immature some times on the court. I have tried to improve that side of things. Proving that to myself is probably the most pleasing part about tonight, because there are times when I didn't know if I was going to be able to do it."

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