SCOTLAND is holding its breath as tennis hero Andy Murray prepares to make Wimbledon history in today’s final.
Across the country, thousands of proud supporters packed into bars and crowded around TV screens at home to watch the nail-biting tie. A big screen showed the match in Edinburgh’s Festival Square.
Our roof here is over 300 years old, I just hope it holds out if he wins the final today!
Andy Murray, 25, is the first British man to reach the final of the tournament in 76 years – going head to head with Swiss master Roger Federer.
In his hometown of Dunblane shops were decked out with window displays supporting their famous son. And locals crammed into Murray’s local pub, the Dunblane Hotel, to watch the historic final. Proud landlord Tom McLean, 64, told Gulf News: “The whole country is so excited and in Dunblane, Perthshire, we are beside ourselves.
“The whole town has come out to support Andy, the atmosphere is electric.
“We’ve also got the world’s media camped out here with us as we cheer Andy on.
“Everyone is wanting him to win, I’ve even played this match out in my dreams – and obviously Andy wins!
“The feeling in here was incredible during the semi-final, you should have heard the roar when he won.
“Our roof here is over 300-years old, I just hope it holds out if he wins the final today!”
Dunblane resident Gordon Mann added: “Dunblane is proud of Murray. Many people here know him, and everybody wants him to win.”
Murray’s grandmother Shirley Erskine, 78, was just two-years old when Fred Perry became the last Briton to hold up the Wimbledon singles trophy. She and her husband Roy are attending the match at Wimbledon. Shirley said: “We are so proud of Andy. To get to the final at Wimbledon means so much to him, and he’s worked so hard. He was really quite emotional at the end of his semi-final.
“We are thrilled to bits for him.”
Tickets for the historic match were selling for up to £15,000.
Messages of support for the 25-year old flooded in from politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond.
Murray became the first British man to book a place in the final since Henry “Bunny” Austin 74-years ago with his victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday.
Federer, who is aiming to equal Pete Sampras’ Wimbledon record of seven wins, said he was looking forward to playing the “local hero”.
The Duchess of Cambridge will take her seat in the Royal Box alongside David Cameron and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond to cheer Murray on.
Salmond said: “The whole of Scotland will be cheering Andy on. “He has carried himself extremely well and played brilliantly right throughout the tournament and it is clear he remains calm and focused on this vital match.
“I’ll be there in person to help cheer him on.”
Meanwhile, proud expats in the UAE spoke of their excitement ahead of the big game. Tim Elliott, presenter on The Tonight Show, ARN said: “It will lift Britain should he win. “He’s the housewife’s favourite across the UK. People in England tend to think everyone’s English, so I don’t think the Scottish thing matters much. That said, if he loses, he will definitely be Scottish
“Whoever wins though it will be historic. Murray will be the first Brit since Fred Perry, but Federer would have won Wimbledon seven times proving himself as an all time great. Whoever wins, it’s a win for tennis.”
Irish fan Seamus Flanagan, General Manager at YallaBanana.com added: “As a fellow Celt I would be delighted, purely because it would be the first time I suspect I have ever seen Murray smile!
“Seriously, I do think it will be important. Britain has had it tough over the last couple of years and this will bring some real cheer. I also think it will be great for Brand Britain coming in the Olympic and Jubilee year. It will lift people’s spirits 10 fold.”
Englishman Paul Grinnall, an entrepreneur, agreed: It’s a huge moment in history. Historically and emotionally it’s come at the right time - in the current economic climate, and after our Euro poor performance it’s become more important than ever.
“As an English person, it does not matter he’s Scottish. I think it is typically English to support anyone who’s British, which I admit is not always the case in reverse.”
At a glance
How British men have fared in Grand Slam finals since Fred Perry won the 1936 U.S. Championships:
1937 French Championships - Bunny Austin lost to Henner Henkel, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3.
1938 Wimbledon - Bunny Austin lost to Don Budge, 6-1, 6-0, 6-3.
1977 Australian Open (Dec.) - John Lloyd lost to Vitas Gerulaitis, 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 3-6, 6-2.
1997 U.S. Open - Greg Rusedski lost to Patrick Rafter, 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
2008 U.S. Open - Andy Murray lost to Roger Federer, 6-2, 7-5, 6-2.
2010 Australian Open - Andy Murray lost to Roger Federer, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (11).
2011 Australian Open - Andy Murray lost to Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
2012 Wimbledon - Andy Murray vs. Roger Federer, Sunday.