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11 July 2016, 07:25
Andy Murray hopes winning Wimbledon could herald the best period of his career as he declared: ''I still feel like my best tennis is ahead of me.''
The world number two defeated Milos Raonic 6-4 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7/2) to emphatically win his second title at the All England Club.
It took Murray's grand slam record to three trophies from 11 finals as he took full advantage of not having to face Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal for the first time.
The Scot has closed the gap to Djokovic at the top of the world rankings, although it still remains a wide gulf, and can lay claim to having been the most consistent player in 2016 after reaching all three slam finals.
Djokovic, whose third-round loss to Sam Querrey was one of Wimbledon's great shocks, is sure to be back but Murray feels strongly this can be the start rather than the end.
''If I want to add to three slams, I'm going to have to find ways to win against them,'' he said.
``It's very rare that you get through a slam without playing Novak, Roger or Rafa. But I still feel like my best tennis is ahead of me, that I have an opportunity to win more.
``Everyone's time comes at different stages. Some come in their early 20s, some mid 20s. Hopefully mine is still to come.''
The 29-year-old ended a 77-year wait for a home men's singles champion three years ago on Centre Court, finally answering the question of whether he could lift tennis' most prestigious trophy.
There was not nearly the same tension this time as there had been when he beat Djokovic in 2013, surviving that tortuous last game.
This time he was sublime virtually from start to finish, repelling Raonic's huge serve with apparent ease and passing him time and again.
At the moment of victory there were tears from Murray, and even from his famously steely coach Ivan Lendl, but there was also joy rather than the sheer relief he had felt in 2013.
''It is different,'' said the Scot. ``I feel happier this time. I feel more content. I feel like this was for myself more than anything, and my team as well. We've all worked really hard to help get me in this position.
''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.
''I'm just really proud that I managed to do it again.''
Raonic made a major breakthrough by defeating Federer in the semi-finals to make his first final and he praised Murray for his performance then vowed to be back.
''He definitely deserved and earned to win this tournament,'' said the 25-year-old. ``I think it's phenomenal for him to back up his win from three years ago.
''I'm going to work on everything. I'm not going to leave any stone unturned. I'm going to try to get myself back in this position, try to be better in this position.''
Britain's Heather Watson joined Andy Murray in becoming a Wimbledon champion as she won the mixed doubles title with Finland's Henri Kontinen.
Watson and Kontinen had never played together before this tournament but the new duo beat Colombia's Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 to seal their first grand slam title.
Gordon Reid added to the British success with victory in the wheelchair men's singles, staged for the first time at Wimbledon, before Jordanne Whiley scooped wheelchair doubles success.