The wait for a British male Grand Slam singles champion has been a long one, but finally the drought is over. After 76 years, 287 tournaments and a few close calls, Andy Murray finally followed in the footsteps of the legendary Fred Perry by securing the US Open. It’s a shame Wimbledon wasn’t his first, but after an Olympic success on home turf just a few weeks ago, we can hardly quibble!
Of course, the Scot isn’t the only sportsman to end a long trophy drought. Every sport has teams and individuals who’ve had to wait a long time to taste victory and in so doing have finally got a ‘monkey off their back.’
We check out five of the most famous…
New Zealand win their second Rugby World Cup
23 year wait
Having won the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 few would have bet on New Zealand having to wait 23 years to regain their crown. Despite being perennial favourites, the Kiwis somehow froze in five consecutive tournaments before finally securing their second title on home turf. It’s fair to say the nation might have gone into meltdown had they not beaten France at Eden Park in the 2011 final last October. Pressure was sky high, and noticeably so, as an unfancied France side pushed the hosts all the way to the line. Having taken an 8-0 lead at half-time the All Blacks clung on in the second 40 minutes to win 8-7.
Boston Red Sox win the World Series
86 year wait
Five World Series titles in their first 17 years saw the Boston Red Sox establish themselves as one of the most successful franchises in Baseball history. Alas, after a contract dispute with star man Babe Ruth saw him traded to the New York Yankies, the good times ended…for a long time. For decades the Fenway Park faithful were the symbol of sporting heartbreak as the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ (Ruth’s nickname) weighed heavy on their collective shoulders. Time and time again the Red Sox came within touching distance of an elusive sixth World Series victory only to be denied by their rivals. You could say that Ruth-less they were toothless! In 2004, after an 86-year wait, they finally ended the drought defeating the St Louis Cardinals four games to none in the best-of-seven series. The relief was palpable.
Manchester City win the FA Cup
36 year wait for a trophy
In the 36-years sandwiching Manchester City’s 1976 League Cup triumph and their 2011 FA Cup win at Wembley, neighbours Manchester United won 27 top level trophies. It’s little wonder then, that Blues fans ignore taunts that their newfound success has been bought for them by oil money from the Middle East. They know it has and they just don’t care; they are back at the top of English football again and look set to stay. Beating Sir Alex Ferguson’s side on the road to FA Cup glory last year – Stoke were the victims in the final – was a tasty starter, while the exhilarating nature in which they snatched the Premier League title from United’s grasp last season suggests the two sides will do battle for many years to come.
Spain win Euro 2008
44 year wait for international honour
England’s football fans know all about waiting a long time to taste international glory, indeed, Baddiel and Skinner’s “Three Lions” could now do with a third update. For Spain though the suffering is finally over. After 44 years of hurt and years failing to live up to their potential La Roja finally emulated domestic sides Barcelona and Real Madrid by hitting the heights of world football. With Puyol and Pique solid at the back, Xavi and Iniesta pulling the strings in midfield, Torres and David Villa ruthless up front their victory at Euro 2008 was never really in doubt. They’ve since won the World Cup and this summer retained the Euros to suggest that good things do indeed come to those who wait. Let’s hope Roy Hodgson’s boys are reading…
England win the Ashes in 2005
26 year wait
The history books record a win for England in the 2005 Ashes, but what they don’t disclose is the sheer excitement which accompanied the ending of a 26-year wait for the little brown urn. Australia had dominated Test cricket for much of the decade and got off to a flyer at Lords with a convincing win. A triumph for England by just two runs at Edgbaston (the closest ever margin of victory in an Ashes test) leveled things up, before a draw at Old Trafford set nerves jangling. At Trent Bridge England finally took the lead, leaving Michael Vaughan’s side needing only a draw to secure the Series. Bad light and a swashbuckling century from new boy Kevin Pietersen, did the honours and the country celebrated vigorously at the expense of them Down Under.
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