TENNIS: WHen it finally came, there was no surge of emotion from Andy Murray - just a realisation that a lifetime of hard work had finally paid off.
This summer has been one of profound highs and lows for the Scottish star. His Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer - his fourth defeat in a grand slam final - sparked floods of tears, while his London 2012 singles final win over the same foe came amid scenes of fervent nationalism at the All England Club.
In contrast the Scot was stoic on Monday night after his 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 US Open final victory over world number two Novak Djokovic.
Those same sentiments were written all of the face of the man partially credited with transforming Murray from nearly man to world beater - coach Ivan Lendl.
"I think that was almost a smile," Murray laughed as he pointed out his mentor in the post-match interview.
Lendl, of course, walked a similar path to Murray, losing his first four grand slam finals before going on to claim eight major titles, and the new champion played tribute to the Czech.
"Having Ivan Lendl around has definitely helped, not just me but the rest of the team as well, having someone of his experience, especially in these situations," said Murray.
"He's got his name on that trophy three times and made the final eight times in a row. It really helps having him around."
Murray will hope his career can continue to mirror that of Lendl, though for now he appears happy to bask in the glory of his first grand slam win, as well as the relief of having shaken a very irritating monkey off his back.
Asked what it was like to be the first British man to win a grand slam since Fred Perry in 1936, Murray replied: "I've been reminded of that most days of my life for the last few years.
"It's great to have finally done it and I don't need to get asked that anymore."
Some players may allow their game to drop following such an achievement, but one senses that is unlikely with Lendl around.
"I didn't come here to have a good time, I came here to help Andy win," Lendl said.
"He did, so job done. Hopefully, we're not anywhere near where Andy can get. Andy has been maturing nicely as a player, as a competitor, as a person. As you mature you become more comfortable in these situations."
Former British number one Tim Henman, too, does not see Murray resting on his laurels.
"Can he go on and be a legend like Fred Perry? Yes. I definitely see him going on to win more. I said the first one would be the hardest but I think it will be the first of many. How many he can win only time will tell."
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