| by Victor Cherubim

( July 9, 2013, London, Sri Lanka Guardian)  The first British man ( well a Scot ) to lift the Wimbledon Tennis title in 77 years 3 hours and 10 minutes was Andrew (Andy) Murray.

Unlike popular belief abroad, numerology plays a big part in British life. On Sunday, strangely everything in the end, ended in seven (7) – the seventh day of the seventh month, contesting his seventh grand slam final at Wimbledon, Andy Murray clinched the Men’s Single Title in straight sets 6-4; 7-5; 6-4.

What then is the difference between the Englishman, Fred Perry winning the same title in 1936 and Andy Murray, a Scot winning it in 2013? There was hardly any difference as far as the British fans, the summer scorcher and the nostalgia, other than the fact that there were more young people attending and that Murray was Olympic Champion, a year earlier.

Perhaps, what was in common, both are British, both wore short trousers and both never relied on luck, slogging it out to win the old fashioned way, playing thrilling tennis.

A week, Tony Blair said, is a long time in politics. 77 years is an awfully long time in tennis history. We cannot for a moment imagine how much the world has changed, in some ways

beyond recognition, in this time span.

Secret of success
Without exception, we note over these long years, the media hype, the bookies and the fans out manoeuvre the odds and each other in winning Wimbledon. This year there was

an uncanny patience, perseverance and “primitive prodigy” with the power of the fans saving their energies for the centre court and literally willing Andy on.

Further, though Novak Djokovic, the World’s No.1 Tennis Champion from Serbia, was the contender for the crown, there was hardly a handful of Serbs to cheer him. Besides, that was not what Djokovic would have wanted either. Djokovic was exceptionally fit, was very calm, collected and was full of concentration until the very end. He was champion and acted the part as well. Yet, strangely from the very start he was the “under-dog”. He was never quite capable of catching Murray once the second set was over. The straight sets victory was not a foregone conclusion, but it actually happened. Djokovic never made any excuses for his performance, and in the end said that Murray played better than him.

Murray’s predicament
Murray quite did not know what to make of his championship prize. He had won £1.6 million, the biggest prize money in the history of the game.

Murray quite did not know how to handle the adulation. He was overwhelmed by it. He admitted afterwards that he was not comfortable being made a “star”, or even possibly being considered for Knighthood by Her Majesty.

Murray quite did not know how to cope with the fact that he would not ever have to undergo his agony, particularly the emotional turmoil he underwent through not winning last year’s Wimbledon final. There was a sigh of relief never more to worry about the hopes and fears and of course, the wishes of the nation, others may have let down.

Be smart, play smart
As Andy Murray sheepishly walked in for his reception at No.10 Downing Street at the invitation of Prime Minister David Cameron, an evening after victory, the world looked on aghast at his humility. First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond was there at Wimbledon along with the Prime Minister, cheering him, but it is unbelievable, and unthinkable, that Andy Murray is the “Talk of the Town”, not only for the people of Dunblane, Scotland, but of all Great Britain.

Sport is something we in Sri Lanka cherish. But to be sportive, we have to be smart, play smart and act smart, if we have to win laurels for our country. Sport is fair minded competition, but competition is not just collecting prizes. Competition is much more than winning and losing. Competition is gamesmanship. This can only be achieved through belief in oneself and one’s nation; through hard but smart play and patience – an old fashioned way.

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