Fresh from a gold medal winning performance at the London Olympics, a Scotsman rode to Flushing Meadows, Queens with the sole purpose of becoming a King of the sport.
He reached his second Grand Slam Final of the year and met a familiar foe in his fifth tilt at a major title decider.
Novak Djokovic stood in the Scot’s way, the man who erased him from the Australian Open during a gruelling Semi-Final battle.
Rafael Nadal was absent, Roger Federer was bounced in the quarterfinals and sentimental favorite Andy Roddick bid the sport farewell as the 2012 US Open opened up for the rest of the field.
Roddick announced his retirement on his birthday at the same tournament he won as a 21-year-old Stiffler look-a-like punk.
Now 30, by today’s standards, he might as well be closer to 39, but he gave it one last good ole’ All-American crack, lightly echoing the ghost of the then 39-year-old Jimmy Connors in 1991.
Back to the racquet sports, the Scotsman relied on his new secret weapon in the final, as fellow countryman and original James Bond, Sean Connery was squarely and firmly in his corner.
Having previously shown signs of mental fragility during his previous four Grand Slam Final failures, losing was no longer an option with 007 in attendance.
Instead of glancing up to his mother who usually displays visible signs of nervousness and distress during crucial stages of play; which undoubtedly contributes to unravelling the Scot’s resolve, he now had the unmoved steely confidence of Connery to mirror.
He was immediately put to the test in the opening set, forced to face the demons of his former failures as he escaped a torrid tie-breaker with his nose in front.
He then had one hand on the champion’s trophy as he claimed the second set.
His hand was promptly pried off as the Serb immediately struck back to level the match at two sets all.
Then with the match in the balance and the legacy of his career teetering on the edge, the Olympic champion finally responded as a warrior and emerged as a champion as Djokovic’s body eventually betrayed him.
Just as the Scot had boldly and confidently lifted the weight of the world off his shoulders, he almost automatically reverted back into his awkward and nervous self.
Moments after winning his first Grand Slam, he scrunched up his face in confusion and called out to his team for his wrist watch.
He then ran over to his team’s court side box, a post championship designation usually reserved for celebration, but instead he asked for his wrist watch again, to which he was notified it was still in his bag on the court.
He scurried back to his chair, eventually retrieving his beloved timepiece before the trophy ceremony.
It’s been a long and painful ride.
Andrew Murray of Dunblane, Scotland, it’s your time now, we salute you.
11 Septiembre 2012