Revelling in fatherhood, Andy Murray hopes to forge his own era of grand slam domination after breaking Novak Djokovic’s stranglehold on men’s tennis with another landmark Wimbledon triumph.
Cashing in on Djokovic’s shock third-round demise, Murray outclassed first-time major finalist Milos Raonic 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) to become the first Brit in 81 years to snare two men’s singles crowns at the All England Club.
Until being dethroned, Djokovic had been the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four grand slam trophies after denying Murray in the Australian and French Open finals to complete the rare sweep.
All up, Djokovic and fellow tennis titan Roger Federer have frustrated Murray in eight major finals in seven years.
But blissfully content off the court and playing better than ever on it, the 29-year-old Scot finally feels ready to emerge from his rivals’ giant shadows and add to his grand slam haul.
“If I want to add to three slams, I’m going to have to find ways to win against them,” Murray said after schooling Raonic in the first of his 11 grand slam finals not facing either Djokovic or Federer.
“It’s very rare that you get through a slam without playing Novak, Roger or Rafa (Nadal).
“But I still feel like my best tennis is ahead of me, that I have an opportunity to win more.”
For now, Murray’s intent on celebrating his sweetest success yet.
Unlike the intense relief he felt after enduring “so much stress and pressure” to end his country’s infamous 76-year wait for another men’s grand slam champion at the 2012 US Open, then breaking Britain’s even longer Wimbledon title drought in 2013, Murray plans to savour this triumph.
“I feel happier this time. I feel more content this time,” he said.
“I feel like this was sort of more for myself more than anything, and my team as well.
“Last time it was just pure relief and I didn’t really enjoy the moment as much, whereas I’m going to make sure I enjoy this one more than the others.”
The world No.2’s emphatic victory over Raonic crowned a perfect summer reunion with supercoach Ivan Lendl and continued the most consistent burst of his career, including a run of five straight finals for the first time.
Murray won his only two previous slams – plus an Olympic gold medal – under Lendl’s charge, before splitting with the former world No.1 two years ago.
But with Lendl back in his box, Murray is 12 from 12 on grass and the first Brit since Fred Perry in 1935 to hold the Wimbledon trophy aloft on multiple occasions.
Once again thrilling delirious home fans – including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge cheering on from the Royal Box – Murray’s victory also comes ninth months after leading Britain to its first Davis Cup title in 79 years.
Since then, he’s followed Laver, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Lendl, Jim Courier, Djokovic and Federer as only the eighth man in the open era to reach the season’s first three major finals.
Murray has no doubt becoming a father in February has helped raise his game to new levels.
“It changes your life,” he said.
“Having a child, it gives you a different perspective. It also has given me a little bit of extra motivation as well to work hard, train hard and do all of the right things to give myself a chance to win these events.
“I feel more motivated than ever just now.”