Wimbledon 2013: On Murray Mound, the faithful gave a mighty roar

Paul Bignell joins the fans on an afternoon most thought they might never see

In the end, the roar was as loud and united as we could have hoped: it was what the Murray Mound-faithful had always dreamed of. And the thousands of tennis fans gathered watching that last game – that last point – didn’t waste a decibel.

“He put us through the mangle again,” said a very relaxed or possibly very relieved Dominic Kelly, 52, clutching a half-empty bottle of champagne. “I didn’t think he was going to win because we’ve been here so many times before. But there was something different in the way he played today. That last year made all the difference. But I didn’t think he was going to win because we’ve been here so many times before.”

Despite the bottle of bubbly, Mr Kelly’s day had not been all that glamorous – he was, after all, standing by a recycling bin. A wine merchant from Southfields, just a stones-throw away from the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Mr Kelly said he had found the perfect spot on an overcrowded Murray Mound to stand. “We had a BBQ here on Wednesday. It’s perfect because no one wants to stand here because it’s by a bin. It’s perfect too because you got the breeze up here and later in the day, the clouds came over.”

As Murray lifted the trophy on the big screen, chants of “Andy! Andy! Andy!” broke out throughout the 4,500 or so fans. Then more of “Braveheart!” And “Easy! Easy! Easy!”

Some people began to file down the hill, perhaps for a well-earned drink, giddy and delirious at the intoxicating mixture of this balmy, humid evening and the sense of joy.

Others just stood on the spot, mouth agape, perhaps unsure what to do next. Did this really happen?

For those who had travelled the length and breadth of the country though, it was worth the journey. Janis Baxter, 67, from Montrose in Scotland had come on a coach tour to Wimbledon for the first time. “It’s just absolutely unbelievable,” she said. “I knew he’d win, though. I knew he’d do it this time. I went to [Murray’s hometown of] Dunblane when he won the Olympic gold, but this tops it.”

As 15,000 tennis fans inside Centre Court did all they could to keep cool on this sweltering Sunday, for the thousands of fans on Murray Mound it was an altogether more tricky prospect.

Barely a patch of grass was visible with people jig-sawing themselves into any available space, on what has now become this most sacred of hills.

Even those fans whose view of the big screen was at the most acute of angles, it did not matter: it was a triumph just being on the Mound.

The umbrellas, the sun cream, the flags – they were all out in force. Yet, earlier in the day people had wilted under this slice of “extreme weather”. “I can’t deal with this heat,” said one fan, storming past in the midday heat towards the beer tent, grabbing at his shirt buttons and ripping it open.

It seems we Brits are never happy, no matter whether we have the sun or are missing it. But in the end it was fitting for the occasion, as history was made. 

At times during the early sets, the crowds appeared subdued, understandably on Centre Court as temperatures there pushed almost 50C in the cauldron-like arena. Any unnecessary movement or hollering was all energy to be conserved for later. And how they hollered later.

During the breaks, almost 100 people queued patiently at the water fountain, replenishing bottles as other just chucked the contents of their bottles over themselves in a bid to keep cool. Occasionally a wisp of cloud would give the briefest of respites. But not for long.

As others pushed further and further back to find space, the view would become even more restricted. At the top of Murray Mound, almost at a set of gates leading out of the grounds fans teetered, stooped and crouched in a bid to see the screen; through a hedge-row or round a tree.

Others just slept peacefully, oblivious at the titanic effort going on inside Centre Court.

And as those final few, tense points were played out, an elderly Scottish gentleman shook his head and said “look at his poor mother” as Judy Murray’s usual poker-face gave way on the big screen to reveal her nerves.

It wasn’t of course just Judy who had followed his pain and his glory. Margaret Robbins, 64 from Newport in South Wales, who could at first barely get her words out, said: “I’m absolutely speechless and so overjoyed. I’ve been following Andy since he started as a young boy. It’s unbelievable.

“This trip to Wimbledon was a 65th birthday present from my daughter.” Even the pensioners can’t remember the last time this happened. What a day.

Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot