Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Murray has Brits in state of shock

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LONDON -- Andy Murray has messed up a lot of people's weekend plans.

Murray's surprise victory in the Wimbledon semifinals, after losing at the same stage three years running, has left British royalty, politicians and celebrities -- and millions of ordinary folk -- scrambling for a spot to watch today's showdown between the Scot and Roger Federer.

By powering past France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to become the first British man to reach the final in 74 years, Murray took Britain's collective mind off the dreary weather and dismal economy and gave the country a new hero -- at least for now.

"Finally!" was the front page headline in Saturday's Daily Mirror. The Sun opted for the slightly longer: "Andy Finally."

The joy was tempered by surprise that Murray had really pulled it off -- and a sense that it would be tempting fate to expect him to beat Federer and become the first British Wimbledon men's champion since Fred Perry in 1936.

The country is practically shocked that one of the oldest traditions in sport -- a Brit-free men's final at Britain's premier tennis tournament -- is at an end.

"A nation unites in disbelief," said the front-page story in The Times newspaper, "for the impossible has taken place before our eyes."

The Daily Mail asked what many were thinking: "Now can he finish the job?"

Murray insisted that he can.

"It will be one of the biggest matches of my life," Murray said after Friday's semifinal. "It's a great challenge. One where I'm probably not expected to win the match, but one that, you know, if I play well, I'm capable of winning."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 8, 2012 B16

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