Murray's Hometown Hails Local Hero
Andy Murray was the toast of his hometown Dunblane on Friday after becoming the first Briton to reach the Wimbledon men's final for 74 years.
Supporters gathered to cheer on their local hero in the central Scottish town as the 25-year-old defeated France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets to tee up a final against six-time champion Roger Federer on Sunday.
The world number four has a good record against the Swiss great and residents of his Perthshire hometown were confident that Murray could win the title at the All England Club.
"I could barely watch, the tension was too much," said John Nixon, who followed the semi-final on television with other supporters at the Dunblane Youth and Sports Centre.
"It's fantastic. It's great for Andy, great for Dunblane and great for the country as well.
"Federer is playing some amazing tennis but you just get the feeling this year is going to be the year.
"It was the silver jubilee the last time a Brit won Wimbledon so maybe it's a sign with this year's diamond celebrations," he said, referring to Virginia Wade's 1977 triumph in the year Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 25 years on the throne.
Nixon said Murray was a "great ambassador" for tennis and for Dunblane.
"He is a clean-living young man, his parents and grandparents are so proud of him; I'm just delighted for the whole family."
Murray survived the 1996 Dunblane massacre, when a gunman burst into his school, killing 16 children and a teacher. Aged eight, Murray hid under a desk. He had attended a youth group run by the man.
Murray rarely speaks about the incident. He says he was too young at the time to understand what had happened and has only a patchy recollection of the day.
The attack deeply scarred the town.
Posters of Murray and signs reading "good luck" and "go Andy" have been put up around Dunblane, while pubs got in the Wimbledon spirit by serving strawberries and cream.
"What a nail-biting match! The first two sets were amazing and then it got nervous but that's the way Murray plays -- he likes to get the crowd going," said Dunblane Centre manager Gemma Grier.
"Everyone in Dunblane is so excited and will be cheering him on in the final.
"We're so proud of him."
Businessman Stuart Prodger said: "I really think he can win it now with the whole of Dunblane and Scotland cheering him on.
"It's great for the town to be associated with something so positive so we are delighted on more levels than you could imagine."
Local tennis player David McCann was impressed by Murray's serving and aggression coming into the net.
He said: "With one shot he hit Tsonga in quite a delicate area of the body. He said it was an accident but I wonder if he learnt that on the courts of Dunblane?"
By AFP, 07/07/2012