“I’m absolutely delighted for him,” Cameron said. “It’s a huge achievement. For 76 years Britain has waited for a Grand Slam win in tennis and Andy has done it in huge style.”
The victory came on the exact day _ Sept. 10 _ that Perry won the U.S. title in 1936. It also came in Murray’s fifth Grand Slam final, following in the footsteps of his no-nonsense coach, Ivan Lendl, who lost in his first four Grand Slam finals before going on to win eight major titles.
For years, Murray has been considered just a rung below the “Big Three” of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, who had shared 29 of the previous 30 major titles. Now he’s joined the club and Britain is rejoicing.
Nowhere was the impact felt more deeply than in his Scottish hometown of Dunblane, a cathedral town and site of a mass shooting in 1996. Murray was 8 when a gunman opened fire at his elementary school, killing 16 children and a teacher. He didn’t witness the actual carnage, but hid under a desk in the headmaster’s study.
A noisy crowd of about 80 people packed into the bar at the Dunblane Hotel to watch the U.S. Open final that ended shortly after 2 a.m. British time. After Djokovic hit a forehand service return long on match point, the crowd erupted in cheers and chants of “There’s only one Andy Murray.’”
“Andy is Dunblane’s hero, not just Dunblane, the whole of Scotland and the rest of Britain,” 63-year-old Gavin Noland told reporters at the bar.
Referring to Dunblane’s shooting tragedy, 62-year-old Dave Whitton said: “It’s a town where things have happened, but this brings a moment of joy and happiness instead of other things that have happened.”
“There are a huge mixture of emotions in the family _ pride, relief, excitement,” he said.
Murray’s grandparents, Roy and Shirley Erskine, were among those who stayed up late to watch the match. His grandmother recalled his rambunctious ways as a child.
“He had a temper on him and would always stamp his foot and say, `I’ve got to do better, I’ve got to do better.’ But he focused that eventually and used his energy to play tennis,” she said.
Murray did most of his tennis training as a youth in Barcelona but remains fiercely loyal to his Scottish roots. Two other famous Scots _ actor Sean Connery and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson _ were among those in the stands cheering him on at Flushing Meadows.
“Now Olympic and U.S. Open champion, Andy truly is a Scottish sporting legend and I’m certain that more Grand Slam titles will follow,” Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said.
The end of the match came too late for many British newspapers, but Murray’s triumph made some late editions.
“History Boy!” blared the tabloid Daily Mirror on the front page. On the sports pages, the Mirror launched a campaign for a Murray knighthood: “Arise Sir Andy: Grand Slam Glory at Last. Oh What a Knight.”