Don't squander my success, Murray tells ecstatic Britain

Updated: 2013-07-09 06:14

By Agence France-Presse in London (China Daily)

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 Don't squander my success, Murray tells ecstatic Britain

Andy Murray kisses the championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic in the men's singles final at Wimbledon on Sunday, ending Britain's 77-year wait for the men's singles crown. Toby Melville / Reuters

Don't squander my success, Murray tells ecstatic Britain

Champ issues warning after ending Wimbledon drought

Andy Murray has warned the country's tennis establishment that if the millions of dollars generated by Wimbledon are squandered, Britain may wait another 77 years to celebrate a homegrown champion.

The 26-year-old Scot became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the Wimbledon singles crown with his 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 victory over world No 1 Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

But amid the hysteria and the congratulations, which poured in from Hollywood stars to Queen Elizabeth, Murray highlighted the sport is still struggling in Britain.

World No 2 Murray is Britain's only player in the top 200.James Ward is the next best at 219, with Daniel Baker at 255 and Alex Bogdanovic, at 275, in the slipstream.

Only Ward, who is already 26 years old, and top junior, South African-born Kyle Edmund, joined Murray at Wimbledon but both were knocked out in the first round.

All this despite Wimbledon making a profit of $56.2 million in 2012, all of which was ploughed back into the sport in the country.

"I would hope that it wouldn't be that long again. It's an incredibly difficult tournament to win, so it's possible that it could take a long time," said Murray.

"I think with the amount of money that's invested in the sport in this country, then it shouldn't take another 70 odd years."

Murray spent his formative years outside of the British training system, spending most of his time as a junior in Spain.

He believes his success at Wimbledon and his independent tennis upbringing taught him to be tough, to persevere and not to rely on the cash handouts of Britain's Lawn Tennis Association, which has been under pressure to cut the dead wood in the system.

"I think I persevered. That's really been it, the story of my career probably. I had a lot of tough losses, but the one thing I would say is I think every year I always improved a little bit," said Murray.

"They weren't major improvements, massive changes, but every year my ranking was going in the right direction.

"I was always going a little bit further in the slams. I kept learning and I just kept working as hard as I could.

"When I lost those matches sometimes I dealt with them badly, but I think the last few losses that I've had in slam finals, I've dealt with them a lot better."

Murray won Wimbledon on his eighth attempt while his breakthrough major victory at the US Open in 2012 came after he had lost all four of his previous Grand Slam final appearances.

"It's hard. It's really hard. You know, for the last four or five years, it's been very, very tough, very stressful, a lot of pressure," he said.

Sunday's title showdown, between two men who have now contested three of the past four Grand Slam finals, rarely lived up to expectations.

Both struggled in the stifling 40-degree heat and the top-seeded Serb, who had beaten Murray in the Australian Open final in January, looked jaded after his record four hour, 43-minute semifinal victory over Juan Martin del Potro.

And despite leads of 4-1 in the second set and 4-2 in the third, he was out-hit by Murray who finished with 36 winners to 31, with 21 unforced errors to the Serb's 40 and having carved out 17 break points.

"I have played Novak many times and when everyone finishes playing, he will go down as one of the fighters," said Murray, a tearful runner-up in 2012.

"He did the same today and that is what made it tough. I understand how much everyone wanted to see a British winner at Wimbledon and I hope everyone enjoyed it.

"My team stuck by me through some tough moments. This one is for Ivan (Lendl, his coach) as well, I know he did everything to try to win this one when he was playing. He's fantastic, he's been patient and I thank him."

On Fred Perry, who died in 1995, Murray regretted he never got the chance to meet him.

"He's someone that, you know, I've spoken to a lot of people about. It's a name that I've heard so much over the course of my career. It's a shame that I never got to meet him," said the Scot.

Watching the historic vicotyr at Centre Court were the likes of Victoria Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Hollywood stars Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper and British PM Cameron.

(China Daily 07/09/2013 page24)