NPR Story
3:16 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Andy Murray Ends Britain's 77-Year Wimbledon Wait

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 3:27 pm

After 77 years, a British man finally won Wimbledon. Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic in three straight sets.

When it was over, Murray acted as if he couldn’t quite believe it, and most of Britain felt the same way.

Michael Goldfarb is a longtime public radio journalist who has been living in Britain for a third of that 77-year wait. Over the years, Goldfarb has vowed that he will leave Britain if a Brit ever won Wimbledon.

Guest:

Copyright 2013 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.

Transcript

ANDREW CASTLE: And you simply cannot give more.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING CROWD)

JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:

And you simply cannot give more, he said. The crowd going wild at yesterday's men's tennis finals at Wimbledon. After 77 years, a British man finally won. That would be Andy Murray, who beat Novak Djokovic in three straight sets. When it was over, Murray acted as if he couldn't believe it, and most of Britain felt the same way.

Michael Goldfarb did too. He's a long-time public radio journalist, who's been living in the U.K. for a third of that 77-year wait. And over the years, Michael has vowed that he will leave Britain if a Brit wins Wimbledon. So, Michael, are you packing your bags and moving?

(LAUGHTER)

MICHAEL GOLDFARB: This is - I'm in a really difficult position because I made that vow before I had a family. Now, I've got a family.

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDFARB: I can't afford to move back to America. I can't afford the health insurance. But, you know, I suppose I could say I'll never leave until the English football team wins the World Cup again. That would be a good bet.

HOBSON: Oh, you're changing your bet now. Well, just give us a sense. I mean, can you believe this that a Brit has finally won?

GOLDFARB: It is simply the most unexpected thing ever. Now listen, Andy Murray, it's been clear for years now, has - had the ability to win. I mean, he's a very talented athlete. But, you know, you cannot imagine the weight of what a British man brings on the Centre Court with him - this 77-year wait, 16 million people. I mean, children at - in a mother's arms are willing you on.

And, you know, tennis as much of it is physical, there's the other side of it, which is the mental side. And very interestingly, Jeremy, this morning on BBC, he said when he got up 40-love in the last game, just for a second through his mind went the thought, I'm going to win the title. And, you know, what happened? He lost the next three points, Djokovic got him to deuce, Djokovic then had him on break point twice. What goes on in these guys' minds is incredible. And the fact that he did it, it's one of the big achievements in sport.

HOBSON: Oh, so you're using the term sport now, Michael. So you definitely want to stay in the U.K. instead of sports?

GOLDFARB: Oh, yeah, yeah. No, no, listen.

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDFARB: You didn't have to edit my copy all the years that I've worked in public radio. The constant trying to excision of Anglicisms that just creep in, you can't avoid it.

HOBSON: Well, now, I'm a - the son of a Brit. I know that Brits like to sort of keep things close to the vest. They don't like to show that they're really getting excited about anything. But this must be something that goes against that, that they are really very excited about.

GOLDFARB: As you know, Wimbledon means something in the British psyche, and I think the best way to explain is it's "Downton Abbey," but for real. Wimbledon has always represented the way you do things the right way, the way the old money, the way the aristocracy, the way the people who built the empire did it. It's one of the reasons they still wear white.

You know, all the other major championships, you know, guys can wear whatever color they want on the court. Wimbledon, you have to wear white. You have to dress a certain way in the box. And the manners, you have to have extremely good manners, and this is a kind of England that's long gone. But the fact is it's lingered at Wimbledon and it's become incredibly important.

And I think it marks a change in British society, that, say, 30 years ago when I went here, people would have fought about the stuffiness of Wimbledon. And nowadays, young people - it's kind of like "Downton." They kind of watch it. They enjoy it. They embrace it. They've lost the social history part of it, and they just say, well, gee, why can't we be polite and why can't this means something special?

HOBSON: Well, they are wearing white and we should know that. I think I heard this morning that Murray is the first British man to win wearing shorts as opposed to pants, which was what they wore back - the last time a British man won Wimbledon. But this is also a political event, right, Michael?

GOLDFARB: It is a political event. You know, next year, Scotland is going to have a vote on independence, on breaking up the United Kingdom. I fear that Andy Murray is going to come under a lot of pressure to declare which way he's going to vote on that. He's already ducked the question this morning. You know, he's a tough guy to love, but he's an easy guy to admire.

HOBSON: Michael Goldfarb, a longtime journalist living in London, talking with us about Andy Murray and his big win at Wimbledon. Michael, thank you so much.

GOLDFARB: Thank you, Jeremy.

ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:

OK. I'm very happy for Andy Murray, but this music...

(LAUGHTER)

YOUNG: ...I'm having a Pavlovian response. You have marked your calendar, right, Jeremy?

HOBSON: It's making you think of "Downton Abbey."

YOUNG: Well, of course, January 5th to February 23rd, do not call me.

(LAUGHTER)

HOBSON: All right. This is HERE AND NOW from NPR and WBUR, Boston. I'm Jeremy Hobson.

YOUNG: I love this music. I'm Robin Young. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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