BBC's Wimbledon Audience Hits a High With Andy Murray Semifinal
LONDON – Murraymania has hit the U.K. media as Andy Murray Friday evening became the first British man to reach a Wimbledon singles final in 74 years.
The Scotman's win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga drew the biggest TV audience of any Wimbledon match this year. An average audience of 6.4 million watched the game on BBC One, a share of 52 percent of the people watching TV at the time. At its peak, the match drew 11.4 million viewers.
Murray's win was also the lead item on the BBC's flagship 10pm news program Friday night. And the player's image was splashed across the Saturday front pages of the national newspapers, including the Guardian and The Times of London.
The Guardian titled: "Don’t Cry Andy. You’ve Ended a 74-year Wait to See a Briton in the Men’s Final." The paper's sports section featured the headline "One Step from Heaven." And the Independent ran the headline: "Great Scot! A Briton in the Wimbledon Final!"
Fourth seed Murray, 25, beat France's Tsonga in four sets with singer Kylie Minogue shown in the audience during the game. He will now play Swiss star Roger Federer in the final on Sunday. The British star has beaten Nicola Davydenko, Ivo Karlovic, Marcos Baghdatis, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer and Tsonga to secure his historic place in the final.
The last British man to reach the Wimbledon final was Bunny Austin in 1938, two years after a famous win by Brit Fred Perry over Germany's Henner Henkel.
There have been no fewer than 11 semi-finals involving British men since 1938, without a single win.
Murray's semifinal win was the fourth year in a row that he stepped onto Wimbledon's Centre Court in hopes of reaching a final.
The BBC will show the Wimbledon finals this weekend in 3D for consumers with 3D-enabled TV sets. Last year's Wimbledon finals were the first BBC broadcasts in 3D.
Georg Szalai contributed to this report.