It was a day when nothing was going to stop Andy Murray. Britain's best male player for three-quarters of a century looked like a man on a mission from the moment he started his singles campaign at the Olympic tournament at the All England Club and yesterday he brought his quest for gold to a glorious conclusion.
Just four weeks after Roger Federer had beaten him here for the third time in a row in the final of a Grand Slam tournament, the 25-year-old Scot turned the tables on the greatest player in history to become Britain's first tennis gold medallist for 112 years. His 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory, which took less than two hours, was every bit as convincing as the margin suggested. It bore comparison with Rafael Nadal's defeat of the Swiss maestro on clay in the French Open final of 2008, when the Spaniard dropped only four games.
The fact that Murray's crushing victory took place on the patch of grass that Federer has all but made his own for the last 10 years – and where British dreams have so often died – made it all the more remarkable. Throughout this tournament Murray, right, has been fired up like we have never seen him. The world No 4 admits that he can come across as a less than positive character on court, but the support of perhaps the most vocal and patriotic crowds the All England Club has ever welcomed has lifted him to new heights. The volume on Centre Court, which was again awash with Union flags and hats, reached a thunderous crescendo as Murray closed in on his victory.
The Scot was positive in his attitude and aggressive in his tennis all week. He has relished the opportunity to be part of a team and to represent his country in a sport which is normally all about individual endeavour. "That's the biggest win of my life," Murray said. "It's definitely easier winning the final than losing. I've had a lot of tough losses in my career, but this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final.
"The atmosphere was unbelievable. I spoke to Ivan Lendl [his coach] after the Wimbledon final and he said to me: 'You'll never play under more pressure than you did in the Wimbledon final.' I'm able to deal with the situations better now and I did. I felt much more comfortable on the court."
In truth Murray did not have to play nearly as well as he had on Friday, when he beat Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. Federer, who has never won an Olympic singles title, admitted that Murray had been "much better than I was today in many aspects of the game".