Andy Murray Foiled In Paris Final
6 June 2016, 07:46
Andy Murray endured yet more grand slam heartache as Novak Djokovic won the French Open final to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major titles at the same time.
Murray won the first set 6-3, but Djokovic showed imperious form to take the second and third sets for the loss of just three games.
And despite a slight wobble in the fourth set when Murray recovered - pumping his fist and shouting encouragement to himself - Djokovic rallied to claim it 6-4 and the match 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-4, the first time he has won at Roland Garros at the fourth time of asking.
It takes the 29-year-old Serb to 12 grand slam titles, joint fourth on the all-time list with Australian Roy Emerson, behind Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras on 14 and Roger Federer on 17.
The Scot said it "sucked'' to see history being made from the other side of the net - a comment which drew sympathetic cheers and applause from the crowd.
For Murray, appearing in his first French Open final, it was another blow as he came up short at the final hurdle in a grand slam for an eighth time, his fifth loss against Djokovic.
It now means he has won just two of the 10 grand slam finals he has appeared in, a return of just 20%.
Djokovic fell to the floor after winning the final point, embracing Murray before drawing a heart shape with his racquet on the court and lying spread-eagled in the red clay.
He said: "It's a very special moment. Perhaps the biggest of my career.''
In the stands his parents hugged as applause rang out around Court Philippe Chatrier.
Residents and well-wishers in Dunblane had headed for pubs and community centres in Murray's home town to cheer him on from afar.
But viewers in the The Dunblane Centre were spared Djokovic's final winning point when the television feed cut out just as the soon-to-be champion was about to serve.
Murray, 29, looked crestfallen as he picked up the runner's-up plate, while Djokovic appeared to shed a tear after he was handed the trophy that has eluded him for so long.
After the anthems, the Scot congratulated Djokovic and his team, saying they deserved the win.
He said: "To Novak, this is his day today. What he has achieved the last 12 months is phenomenal, winning all four of the grand slams in one year is an amazing achievement.
"This is something that is so rare in tennis, it has not happened for an extremely long time and it is going to take a long time for it to happen again.
"So everyone here who came to watch is obviously extremely lucky to see it. Me personally, being on the opposite side, it sucks to lose the match.
"But I am proud to have been part of today, so congratulations Novak, well done.''
Djokovic swapped between French and English as he applauded Murray for an "amazing tournament'' and thanked him for his kind words.
He told him: "It was a pleasure to play against you once more, to share very special moments on the court. Obviously, one had to lose but I am sure we will be seeing you with the big trophies in the future.''
And he thanked his "family, team and loves'' for "tolerating everything on a daily basis''.
Speaking in French, he said it was the most special moment of his career and thanked the fans for their support, promising to return next year.
In Dunblane, Murray fans were pragmatic about his most recent loss.
Steve Birnie, 51, chair of the board of trustees at the Dunblane Centre, said: "I think the Dunblane Centre's wifi decided to spare us the pain of having to watch the final point.
"I thought Andy played really well, and I thought he might just pull it back towards the end of the last set but it was just too little too late.
"I think he lost some of the aggression that he seemed to have in that first set, and didn't get it back until he came to the end of those final sets when he showed that flash that made us think he might just make it.
"Dunblane loves Andy Murray and loves following Andy Murray, and it would have been a huge thing just to see him create another historic victory.
"But he's still got a chance to do it. Wimbledon is coming up and we've obviously got big hopes for that, so fingers crossed.''