As he stood on the of history, three games from becoming the first British man to win a Grand Slam tournament since 1936,Andy Murray scowled.
His expression matched the windy weather for this United States Openfinals on Monday night, the nearly five hours that it lasted and the weight of seven decades worth of expectations placed on Murray the minute his career began.
Murray complained his legs felt like jelly. Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, kept coming, his shoes squeaking, until after 306 points each man had won exactly half. Murray stared down fatigue and history and wind and doubt, elevating his game to a place it had never been before.
When the match ended, after Djokovic’s return sailed long, Murray covered his face with this hands, his wild 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 triumph complete.
Djokovic met Murray at the net. They hugged. Murray walked from their embrace in a daze, with one hand or both hands covering his mouth. It was as if he could not believe what happened, like the emotions were too fresh, too raw.