Whether you’ve been spending this sweltering Sunday afternoon on the edge of your seat, willing Andy Murray to win Wimbledon or not – it was a heroic performance. Tennis fans know it is about more than physical skill. In order to win, players have to demonstrate mental toughness and a solid belief in their own abilities. It was predicted to be a five set epic. However from the first game, both Andy Murray and his opponent Novak Djokovic played such brutally long rallies, slamming the ball at one another using all their strength and skill, in the brain-boiling heat of Centre Court, that it became a test of endurance and stamina. Which of these skillful, well matched players would be able to go the extra distance?
They both have come so far… Novak, born in Belgrade, can recall the shelling during the dark days of the civil war in Serbia and had to leave home and family at the age of twelve to advance his tennis career. Andy, who was a pupil at Dunblane Primary School during the terrible massacre in 1996, also took the decision to leave home aged fifteen to hone his skills on his journey to becoming a professional sportsman.
Heroes show courage and determination during adversity. They are gracious in defeat. Although they may hurt, they don’t give up. Andy Murray has finally brought the trophy back home, after 77 years, after losing last year to Roger Federer. But Novak was still posing a major threat right up to the end and his losing speech only moments after his defeat was a model of graciousness and good manners.
Readers and writers are fascinated by heroes – in genre fiction we constantly read of big characters with big strengths and weaknesses. The Men’s Final today was truly magnificent with some amazing rallies, but for me, the bonus was watching two true heroes in action.