What We Do in Wimbledon Fortnight, by Scott Barclay with Art by Nial Smith

Clouds broke, breaching their way across the London sky, smokey and wispy in their sunburned paleness and altogether calming in their paced slowness.

Below though, chaos reigned, raining down at speeds fearsome as racket hands shook and dreams shivered, wavered and quivered with goosebumps on tight ropes of potential happenings.

Breaths were being held, choking the country to a standstill stall, sun beating down and melting out across roads empty, eyes all inside watching television sets aplenty, many having left work early or abandoned it altogether for this wonder Sunday.

Over on Henman Hill, blinking, winking in the summer heat, hands sticky with ice-lollies dripping through hands clasped, gasps escaping through mouths agaping at the possibility of incoming astounding.

Right there on Wimbledon Centre, history moved, side-to-side across baselines faded, dusted, wasted away from two weeks of intensity play.

The usual hushing and shushing teetered on the edge of barely restrained desperation, arms clawing at the air around heads in fearful nervousness, pimms and strawberries scattered around feet stomping in cream running, dribbling beneath seats abandoned after every point won with a standing roaring.

Hours ticked on like this, scraping along between agony and ecstasy, bypassing all sense of usual tick-tocking, as though the significance of this day alone had reached in and meddled with the inner-workings of the world clockings.

Indeed, when the final game finally came, days, weeks, months went by, seasons passed, summer drifted to winter, orange leaves falling and turning to snow carpeting the ground crunching, calendars were changed as hairs turned grey and wrinkles were set into skin once young with forlorn youth, so terribly slow did these final few points seem to go, flow as they did with a dragged out weight, that waiting for moment of greatness fulfilment, a frustrating amount of “HOW MANY OF THESE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS IS HE GOING TO NEED TO GET IT DONE?!?!?!?!” screamed internal monologues…

And then it was over and he turned and lost himself in exhausted childhood jubilations, a yell of relief immediately drowned in the haze of the thousands that rose as one to raise him above their heads as though they themselves could in some way stake some claim to all of this immensity.

He climbed up through them, snaking his way between the back-slapping and hand-shaking, all the way up towards those that meant most, typically making sure to forget about mum amidst all of the hugging, retracing his steps across the rooftops of commentary booths to embrace her in a much photo-snapped image that read “FINALLY!” with its very occurrence.

Minutes later, the trophy was held in a gentle protective way, cradled as though it had a beating heart itself, beaconing its way across sports pages, front pages, all-of-the-pages like a lightning rod drizzled through with a gleeful injection of thankfulness.

A drone of a voice took us all walking through the immediate aftermath, his lifetime achievement joy hidden under a layer of relief-stricken wonderment disguised as a shrug of nonchalance, the tears of the years of nearly theres ghostly distant in the memory of the watching.

The toils and the foils, the rages and turmoils, the criticism, whirlwind analysis of his emotional weaknesses, pointers from those that were never even asked, his mum strung up and blamed for apron strings no-longer attached, his appearance mocked, laughed at, his scruffiness mocked, belittled, his talent questioned, a ruffian, a swear-box, a pest beyond all the rest, a Scot triumphant in the kingdom of British sporting greatness.

These were the glory days of Andy Murray summers.

Author Bio: A Scot and a huge Andy Murray fan, Scott Barclay is one of the three hosts of the podcast Murray Musings. You can see more of his insightful, lyrical writing about tennis on his blog Writing Beyond the Baseline. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Artist Bio: Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Nial Smith is a designer/artist/illustrator/filmmaker. He is most famous in tennis circles for his witty spoof movie posters of Andy Murray (and other players) such as Crocodile Dunblane. Nial Smith’s artwork of two of history’s greatest wheelchair champions, Shingo Kunieda and David Hall, has previously appeared in Tennis Players as Works of Art.

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