Andy Murray is having his moment. Since winning the U.S. Open one week ago, he has appeared in the States on serious talk shows (Charlie Rose) and not so serious (Jimmy Fallon). He’s combed his hair for a photo shoot in Central Park, been escorted through a London airport by smiling female flight attendants, sat primly at a fashion show with Anna Wintour, and appeared, for the most part without a scowl on his face, on the front page of every newspaper in the United Kingdom. It’s amazing how much winning a single set—the fifth against Novak Djokovic in their final—can raise a man’s profile and polish his reputation. Imagine what the reaction would have been if he had lost it.
On second thought, don’t imagine it. Blowing a two-set lead in a Grand Slam final would have been, as Murray put it after the match, “a tough one to take.” Roughly translated from Murray-speak, that means it would have been the most soul-crushing defeat of his career. Instead, for the first time, the man who once couldn’t win the big one has been celebrated without reservation in his home country. And in his hometown. This weekend, the Murray moment reached its joyous peak when he returned to Dunblane and was greeted by 15,000 people who had waited in the rain for hours to cheer him. Murray, who said he “hadn’t been part of anything like this before,” has never looked as proud as he did standing, with his two Olympic medals around his neck, next to a special gold post office box that the town constructed in his honor. Even to them, the people who knew him way back when when, Muzz must have seemed like a new man.