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LONDON – Scottish star Andy Murray‘s triumph on Sunday at London’s famous Wimbledon tournament, watched live by 17.3 million at its peak on the BBC, propelled him onto the front pages of every U.K. newspaper and kept him headline news on morning shows.
A photo of the champion holding or kissing the famous gold cup — which has no formal name or nickname — adorned the front pages of all the newspapers, with the red top The Daily Mirror summing it all up with the headline: “History in His Hands.”
His three-set triumph over Novak Djokovic made him the first British Wimbledon men’s singles winner since Fred Perry in 1936.
The Mirror devoted six news pages to his win along with four of its sports pages.
Not since 2012’s Olympics in London has sport dominated the front pages as well as the back pages across the newspapers, and the sheer extent of coverage of Murray’s win outweighs the British triumphs of last summer.
Tabloid The Sun, Britain’s best-selling daily newspaper and part of Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp, really went to town. It included an eight-page special pullout section in addition to the first four news pages after the front cover and five of its sports pages.
The Sun‘s front page read, “Finally, after 77 years, 15 PMs, 3 Monarchs……Brit Man Wins Wimbo and of hope and glory.”
“It seems ludicrous to say it. But a British man has just won Wimbledon,” said BBC radio commentator Jonathan Overend as Djokovic netted the final shot.
And it wasn’t just the tabloids that went all out.
The Independent devoted the first seven pages of its main section and 10 of its sports section. Its sober headline read: “Champion: Andy Murray – the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936.”
The Daily Telegraph noted the 77-year wait on its front page and continued with Murray’s win on the first three pages of the U.K.’s only remaining broadsheet-sized newspaper.
Murdoch’s other U.K. newspaper The Times of London declared itself a “souvenir edition” with a wraparound cover picture of Murray making his way through the adoring Centre Court crowd — which included fellow Scot Gerard Butler, Bradley Cooper and Victoria Beckham — with three words: “The History Boy.”
The wraparound meant the paper had other news on the front page, but it still carried seven news pages in addition to its sports section coverage.
The Guardian‘s front page had a dramatic close-up of Murray kissing the cup with one word: “Champion.”
Talent manager and Idol franchise creator Simon Fuller, who manages Murray as head of XIX Entertainment, told The Daily Mail that the player’s sporting achievement was almost incomparable in its enormity. Fuller will certainly be aiming to build up Murray as more than just a sportsman. He told the Mail, “‘I don’t think anything’s driven by finance, but Andy now will hopefully now get all the credit and achieve all the great things that come with success.”
Having won Olympic gold and the U.S. Open – his first Grand Slam triumph – in 2012, Murray’s Wimbledon win underlined his champion status.
The BBC plans to rebroadcast an updated version of documentary Andy Murray: The Man Behind the Racquet, having originally aired the hourlong special on the eve of this year’s Wimbledon. Fuller managed the documentary.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he can think of “no one more deserving of a knighthood” than Murray, and the tennis star is now the overwhelming favorite to pick up the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
Various reports note that Murray could be set to become a cash cow for Fuller, with estimates of an extra $22 million per year being bandied about in sponsorship deals. But Murray is known to be unmotivated by money and has rejected the trappings of celebrity.
He famously gave back a Ferrari after a few weeks because he felt like a bit of “a pratt” driving it and has given his winning paychecks to cancer charities after his friend and fellow British tennis player Ross Hutchins was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December.
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