Four hours of draining tension gave way to a brief defeated silence before cheers and applause rang out for local hero Andy Murray last night in his home town of Dunblane.
"We are devastated. He's played his heart out but he will be back next year and he will win it," said Maria Steel, defiantly clutching a banner bearing the word "legend".
More than 200 people had sweated it out in noisy excitement in front of the big screen at the Dunblane Centre on Sunday.
Among those living every moment was Mike Robbins, the Provost of Stirling. "He was never going to give up his fight until the end. Andy has done remarkably well. There was a bit of bad luck but this has still been a great day for us here in Dunblane," he said.
Although the pretty cathedral city's 8,000-strong population would barely fill half the seats at Wimbledon's Centre Court, and tennis ranks only as Scotland's 15th most popular sport, pride in Murray's sporting achievement runs deep through this corner of Perthshire. All week, "Come on Andy" banners have been flying while the butchers has been doing brisk business in its line of Murray burgers.
At the Dunblane Centre – a community facility paid for by donations from well-wishers following the 1996 shootings – there were several generations of supporters.
Children played shadow puppets on the big screen at critical moments but no one was going to complain. For win or lose, Dunblane will not lose faith in Murray who has helped his home town shake off its unwanted association with tragedy.Reuse content