- Chris Wilkinson
Magical Murray the jewel in Wimbledon's crownChris Wilkinson July 10, 2013
I was there: on Centre Court, sat just to the side of the Royal Box in the members' area, to watch a British man win the Wimbledon singles title. It was, in short, quite something, and the crowning moment of one of the best Championships I have ever been involved with.
I was commentating for the radio for the fortnight, but I watched the final in its entirety and it was an amazing experience. From the moment the players walked on court the air was electric. The crowd really sensed something. There was a big buzz around - I've never known an atmosphere like it. As a British player, and having played on Centre Court, to be part of Andy Murray's triumph in some way and to be there on the day was a real honour and a privilege.
What a difference a year makes. There's plenty to be said about Murray's tactical advances since he lost the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer in 2012 - he's a bit more aggressive, something that people have been asking of him for a long time, but with Ivan Lendl in the corner the advice has had a bit more of an impact. His fitness levels have improved as well, but - crucially - so has his belief. After losing 12 months ago he bounced back with victories at the Olympics and the US Open, and it cemented the notion that he was capable of ending Britain's 77-year wait for a British men's singles champion. They were defining moments towards what he achieved on Sunday.
For Murray's defining moment of the tournament, however, look no further than his five-set escape against Fernando Verdasco. Without a doubt, he could have lost that match - trailing by two sets and fighting to find some form, it was without doubt the scariest moment of the fortnight for the world No. 2. But while he struggled, he found a way to win. That's what makes a great champion - even if they're not playing well, they will find a way to get that win. And you saw more of that from Murray in the final - the amount of balls he got back in court, his movement, how tough he made himself to beat, it was a huge statement.
Djokovic in a crisis? Not a chance
As for Novak Djokovic, he has to go back the drawing board and find a new way to beat Murray. They've contested three of the last four grand slam finals, and while Djokovic came out on top at the Australian Open and took Murray to five sets in New York, on Sunday the world No. 1 was forced to play a game that took him out of his comfort zone. He made a lot of unforced errors and didn't do enough with the second serve return, so instantly he has a couple of areas to work on with his camp.
Still, this is anything but a crisis for Djokovic. He's No. 1 in the world with a couple of thousand points between himself and Murray; he has reached the finals of three grand slams in the past twelve months, winning one, and reached the semis of the French Open; and he certainty hasn't become a bad player overnight. He will be disappointed with the way that he played in the final, but Murray forced Djokovic to play that way.
Murray faces a critical time in his career now, balancing his profile against his ambitions. His historic victory will mean more media commitments now, which make it that bit tougher to focus on doing what he is doing, and there's always the possibility of complacency creeping in. But Murray is a winner - it's central to his character. He doesn't cut corners, an attitude that has allowed him to achieve all he has achieved. I don't think those things will be an issue. It's simply a case of keep up the hard work.
Murray the fizz in a champagne Championships
Obviously Murray's victory was the big story of the Championships, but it was the myriad stories in the two weeks that preceded his triumph that helped to make the tournament so special.
Take the women's final between the quirky champion Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki, conqueror of Serena Williams.
The American's 34-match streak came to an end with a bad day at the office in the fourth round - and even then she was 4-1 up in that final set. But Lisicki fought back and pulled off a mighty upset.
There were huge shocks from day one - literally. Rafael Nadal crashed out on the first Monday, only to be followed by Roger Federer in the second round on a Wednesday that will go down in Wimbledon folklore, strewn with injuries and upsets - Sharapova fell that same day.
In their wake, the stage was set for the likes of Jerzy Janowicz, a semi-finalist in only his fifth grand slam, and Juan Martin del Potro, who finally looks back to his best after the wrist injury that followed his US Open triumph. And not to forget Laura Robson, whose run to the fourth round captured the imagination of the nation.
It was one of those Wimbledons that will be tough to match. I went to the Champions' Dinner and Andy was there, enjoying himself as his entourage enjoyed the champagne. It was a real champagne moment, and well deserved.
Chris Wilkinson is a former British No. 1