Andy Murray ended 77 years of hurt for British tennis as he clinched the Wimbledon men’s singles title.
Not since Fred Perry won for the third successive year, in 1936, had the grass-court grand slam seen a home victory in the men’s final.
But Murray put last year’s defeat to Roger Federer firmly behind him by beating world number one Novak Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-4 on Centre Court.
The annual reminder that another year has passed since Perry’s pomp will not come in 2014; instead it will be Murray returning to defend the title he won quite brilliantly on a searingly hot day in London.
Murray landed the US Open in New York title last September, after winning Olympic gold at Wimbledon, but this prize was the one he, like generations of previous British challengers before, had wanted the most.
Murray broke down in tears of joy and relief when Djokovic found the net at match point down.
Murray then strolled around the court high-fiving spectators in the crowd as the enormity of his achievement sank in.
The 26-year-old Scot asked Wimbledon referee Andrew Jarrett for permission to go up to his box in the stands, where he embraced mother Judy.
Murray had a huge smile on his face as he was presented with the trophy by the Duke of Kent.
“That win was for myself but I also understand how much everyone else wanted to see a British winner at Wimbledon,” said Murray.
“I hope you guys enjoyed it. I tried my best.”
The Djokovic serve was shaky, and he gave away a remarkable eight break points in the first set.
Murray converted just two of those but it proved enough. Djokovic became more frustrated as the set wore on and the home favourite made it count, taking the first set in just under an hour.
Djokovic then roared as he raced to a 4-1 lead in a second set he looked certain to run away with. Murray would not roll over, though. Skill, determination and a dollop of good fortune saw him draw level.
He took advantage as the top seed wavered, with Centre Court erupting as Djokovic netted a forehand to drop serve.
It gave Murray momentum, and he produced an ace to take the second set before firing out the blocks in the third with an immediate break. But at the climax to a fortnight where surprises have lurked around most corners, a straight-sets British victory after 77 years of frustration did not quite seem right.
Djokovic fought back, breaking serve twice Murray craned to the side in pain.
But what followed was a heroic recovery in a whirlwind four games as Murray chased every ball, covered every inch of the court and fired winner upon winner.
There was a state of disbelief as he earned three championship points, which rapidly turned to fear as Djokovic took it to deuce. Murray suddenly had to fend off the possibility of a break not once but three times.
But the advantage swung his way after Djokovic was forced into the net and when it rippled again, that was finally it.