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I’ve never seen you look like this without a reason, another promise fallen through, another season passes by you.

When he wins, he’s a Brit. When he loses, he’s a Scot. But after his staggering-to-the-finish straight set victory over Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s Wimbledon Final 6-4, 7-5, 6-4…Andy Murray is forever a champion at the All England Club. And a nation’s 77-year yearning ends.

I never took the smile away from anybody’s face, and that’s a desperate way to look for someone who is still a child.

Think about it. Seventy-seven years. Almost “four score”…with apologies to Old Abe. Nine years shy of the Curse of the Bambino’s longevity. Twenty-three years longer than Ranger fans had to hear “1940!”. Imagine there not being an American US Open winner until the year 2080. That’s not a drought…that’s a desert. And it’s over.

In a big country dreams stay with you, like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside…stay alive.

The fact Murray even got to Sunday was an achievement in and of itself. Wednesday the 2nd seed dropped the first two sets to Fernando Verdasco before storming back to take the fifth set 7-5. Two days later he lost the first set to Jerzy Janowicz (sadly these are actual names, although they could easily come from a screenwriter’s imagination) and trailed 4-1 in the third before catching fire–taking the last five games of the set (and more importantly, match momentum). Murray then had to wait out a 20-minute delay for the fourth set as they closed the roof–before prevailing 6-4.

I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered…but you can’t stay here with every single hope you had shattered.

For years, it was Tim Henman who held the hopes of the UK. And although he won 75% of his matches at Wimbledon–reaching the quarterfinals in eight of nine years from 1996-2004–the Englishman just wasn’t able to put seven wins together. Each June would turn into July and the wait would extend. Henman would go from upstart to elder statesman. And a window would close on the fingers of a nation that could almost touch the prize.

So take that look out of here, it doesn’t fit you. Because it’s happened doesn’t mean you’ve been discarded.

Meanwhile a busted women’s bracket left a final four the 1970’s Miami Dolphins defense would be proud of. Who were these people? Agnieska Radwanska (#4) was the only top 14 seed to get that far…and she was brushed aside by giant-killer Sabine Lisicki. The German had previously bounced Francesca Schiavone (2010 French Open Champ), Samantha Stosur (2011 US Open Champ) and top seed Serena Williams…but wound up losing in straight sets Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in the finals. Seven years after losing in the Finals at Wimbledon to Venus Williams, the 28-year old Bartoli has her first Grand Slam title. And the favorites regroup for next month’s US Open.

Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming…cry out for everything you ever might have wanted.

Scotland began as the land beyond Hadrian’s Wall during the days of the Roman Empire. It gave us the blueprint for one of Shakespeare’s most memorable plays. It gave the English throne an heir after Queen Elizabeth I’s death…and by extension gave Western Civilization an English-language bible. Scotland contributed the best James Bond (I know there are George Lazenby die-hards out there, but just go with me here), as well as everybody’s favorite starship engineer who somehow avoided the “red shirt equals death” axiom that defined the USS Enterprise. Scotland even gave the music world a band titled Big Country…that in a fit of originality released a song “In a Big Country”. Scotland might technically not be an independent country, but after one fantastic fortnight by its favorite son…has reason to feel pretty big right now.

In a big country dreams stay with you, like a lover’s voice Read the rest of this entry »

One upset is cute. Two is intriguing. But last week at Wimbledon was an absolute mess. And the one guarantee–Serena Williams at the late-career peak of her powers sweeping through the field–is now like many of the scuffed courts at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (where’s that championship? Come on, ESPN8–the OCHO!): not holding up well. Only five of the top 16 Mens seeds reached week two…and six of the top 16 women advanced to round four.

The Nadal-Federer Quarterfinal “I can’t believe this is a quarterfinal” match? Erased the first day by a guy who wouldn’t even be able to play two days later. Steve Darcis and his 135th in the world ranking turned the tennis world upside-down…and instead of the upset being the big story of the first few days, it was merely the first chapter. Nadal’s pursuit of Federer’s 17 Grand Slams remains stalled at 12…as the King of Clay shows feet of clay on grass (although technically Nadal’s worst surface is the deco hardcourt of the US Open). Did this mean Federer’s path was made easier? Not after stumbling in the second round–his earliest Grand Slam exit since the 2003 French Open. This also means the onetime #1 in the world has reached two Grand Slam Finals in three years. The 31-year old may have one last Samprasesque run left for that final Major, but it’s not happening here this year. Sharapova? Sayonara…and with it a lot of 18-34 year old guys who like womens’ tennis for the scrabble possibilities but not much else. A first time Grand Slam champ will emerge in the womens’ bracket as the last American (Sloane Stephens) losing in the quarterfinals gives this tournament a completely foreign flavor.

This year reminds me of 1999 when Andre Agassi completed his career Grand Slam by surviving and advancing in a bracket so busted the only seeded player he faced was #4 Carlos Moya in the fourth round. That’s right–his wins in the final three rounds came against unseededs or qualifiers. That gives Great Britain hope in Andy Murray–who when he wins he’s a Brit, and when he loses he’s a Scot. But the 26 year old has made four straight final fours at Wimbledon…including last year’s runner-up finish. Perhaps this is the year the UK finally breathes a sigh of relief as one of their own bows to the Queen.