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Free Of Self-Doubt, Murray Targets No. 1

New York, U.S.A.

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray shows his relief after winning his first Grand Slam title.

Andy Murray never had a chance to meet eight-time Grand Slam champion Fred Perry, who passed away in 1995, but said after capturing his first major title on Monday at the US Open, “I’m sure he’s smiling from up there that someone has finally managed to do it from Britain. I’m very, very happy, and I just hope it’s not a long, long way - I hope I can see another British player in my lifetime win a Grand Slam.”

For years, the Scot had carried the weight of a nation yearning for its first men’s Grand Slam champion since 1936. After defeating Novak Djokovic in an epic five-set final, Murray - who stated he would now be gunning for the No. 1 South African Airways ATP Ranking - shared that the main emotion he felt was relief.

“I was obviously very emotional. I cried a little bit on the court. You’re not sad; you’re incredibly happy,” he described. “You’re in a little bit of disbelief because when I have been in that position many times before and not won, you do think, Is it ever going to happen? Then when it finally does, you’re obviously very, very excited. But mainly relieved to have got over that last hurdle.” 

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He admitted that the number of times he’d been asked about Great Britain’s title drought - in ‘most press conferences I would do’ - had added to the pressure that came with expectations.

“You try not to think about it much when you’re playing, but when I was serving for the match, I realised how important that moment was for British tennis or British sport. It’s something that hasn’t happened for a long time obviously in our country, and I’m obviously proud that I managed to achieve it,” he said, adding with a laugh, “and I don't have to get asked that stupid question again.”

Like his coach, Ivan Lendl, Murray had lost in his first four Grand Slam finals. He was unable to win a set in his first three, falling to Roger Federer at the 2008 US Open and 2010 Australian Open and to Djokovic at the 2011 Australian Open, before taking a set off of Federer earlier this summer in the Wimbledon final.

Despite his confidence-boosting gold medal triumph last month at the London 2012 Olympics with victories over both Djokovic and Federer, those losses had Murray doubting himself minutes before Monday’s final. “When you get so close to achieving really my last goal I had left to achieve in tennis in winning a Grand Slam, and when you have been there many times and not done it, it is easy to doubt yourself.”

He added: “You’re still thinking, If I lose this one, no one’s ever lost their first five finals. I just didn’t really want to be that person.”

After his match against Djokovic, which included a 24-minute first set tiebreak and equalled the longest US Open final in history, he stated he would no longer doubt himself in the future.

“I proved that I can win the Grand Slams. I proved that I can last four and a half hours and come out on top against one of the strongest guys physically that tennis had probably seen especially on this surface. So they would probably be the things that I would say I have learned tonight: To not doubt myself physically and mentally from now on.”

With the US Open title under his belt, the 25-year-old Scot now has his sights set on more major hardware, as well as the No. 1 South African Airways ATP Ranking.

“That is the next step,” he shared. “To do that, you need to be consistent throughout the whole year. That’s something that Novak and Roger and Rafa have done incredibly well the last few years. He made it very, very difficult for guys to get up there. I’m definitely going to try. It’s something I’d love to do, to get to No. 1.”

How The Final Was Won: Read Set-By-Set Analysis

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