Andy Murray has broken the hoodoo of all hoodoos - one that British tennis fans had obsessed about for 77 years. A netted backhand by Serbian opponent Novak Djokovic gave the Scot the Wimbledon men's title after a gruelling three hours and 10 minutes in searing heat, making him the first Briton to lift the coveted gold trophy since Fred Perry in 1936. In an instant, on the hallowed Centre Court grass of the sport's spiritual home, the decades of disbelief and ridicule evaporated and the nation that stages the world's biggest tournament sighed with relief and celebrated with the player. But statistics are a mere footnote: Murray's win should be less about Britain's time having come than the grit, determination, fitness and skill that is the stuff of champions.
While Murray had dreamt from an early age of one day winning Wimbledon, it was not luck or a twist of fate that gave him his wish. It involved years of hard work, slogging on the tournament circuit, losing and winning and coping with the mental and physical strains. But all that, with support of family and friends and a push from coach and eight-times grand slam winner Ivan Lendl, was bound to lead to him attaining the goal .
At the Olympic Games in London last year, the elements started coming together and he took gold in the men's singles. A month later, he had claimed his first grand slam title at the US Open, also by defeating Djokovic. Now he has added Wimbledon - the only one of the four grand slams Lendl did not gain - and at the age of 26, he is finally on the road to tennis greatness. There have been many disappointments, but giving up has never been in his nature. That has also been so for France's Marion Bartoli, who at 28, won her first grand slam title with victory in this year's Wimbledon women's singles.
Their achievements are a lesson for all aspiring and budding sportspeople. Getting to the top is not about luck or being in the right place at the right time. There are good draws and bad ones in tournaments, but ultimately, a champion lifts the winners' trophy through hard work.