Jul 11 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
Murray’s still a hero despite gut-wrenching defeat
DUNBLANES Andy Murray has been hailed as a local hero in the wake of his valiant defeat in Sundays Wimbledon final.
Crowds packed into pubs, hotels and community venues in the world number fours home town to watch the 25-year-old attempt to make history and become the first British male to win a mens singles title in SW19 since Fred Perry 76 years ago.
But locals and the many weekend visitors to the Cathedral City were left heartbroken as Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer triumphed 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
Stirling Provost Mike Robbins said: It wasnt the fairy tale ending we were all hoping for but in the eyes of people across the Stirling area and especially in Dunblane Andy has simply confirmed his status as a local hero and tennis legend.
Its been a thrilling adventure watching as Andy made his way towards his first Wimbledon final in a series of increasingly impressive displays of talent, composure and grit, with everyone back home looking on with pride and cheering him every step of the way. Hes given it his absolute all.
It was Roger Federers day, and Andy would be the first to congratulate his opponent on a truly outstanding achievement.
Im sure thousands of Stirling area tennis fans are as confident as I am that one day well see Andy win a Grand Slam title.
Patrons at the Dunblane Hotel and the nearby Village Inn were treated to the traditional Wimbledon staple of strawberries and cream as the action unfolded. And crowds also packed into the Dunblane Centre as has become custom to watch the match on a big screen, while the national media was on hand to document proceedings at Dunblane Sports Club.
Following Murrays tear-jerking speech at the end of the epic encounter, Dunblane Centre trustee Stewart Prodger said: The atmosphere was amazing, with hundreds of Dunblane families coming together to cheer themselves hoarse for their local hero.
Winning would have been wonderful but getting to the final is an incredible achievement and were immensely proud of Andy.
The centres been open for seven years and weve grown up alongside Andys increasing success. Were also proud to provide a place where people can come together, and where talent can be encouraged from a very early age its incredibly important, as Andy has demonstrated.
Stewart went on to pay tribute to the Murray family themselves, stating: Theyve shown the centre generous support, through things like donating tickets for us to take youth club members and volunteers to the Davis Cup. They are a great family from a great town.
Dr Jonathan Lacey explained to the Observer that he opted to travel from his home in Chichester, West Sussex, to take in both Murrays semi-final victory against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday and the final itself in Dunblane.
Before making the near 500-mile trip home yesterday (Tuesday), Dr Lacey said there was a point as Sundays drama was reaching its climax that he thought his professional skills would be required.
He said: My auntie and her family live in Dunblane my cousins husband, David, was actually in Andys class at school.
I was watching the final when a local lady went a bit weak at the knees. It was so hot in the room and it was such a dramatic game she was OK though, it was really just a case of us getting her some fresh air and water. A few of us had to go outside at various points, the drama was getting to everyone!
I actually preferred coming up here to going to Wimbledon. It felt a little more authentic to me somehow.
The atmosphere was fantastic. I really thought he was going to do it.