THERE was crushing disappointment but no shortage of pride as thousands turned out in the Capital to see Andy Murray fail in his bid to secure the Wimbledon title.
It was standing room only at Festival Square, where an estimated 600 watched yesterday’s final in the open air, and countless others packed pubs and bars to witness Murray’s defeat to Roger Federer in four sets.
Hope had turned to expectation after the Scot took a thrilling first set, but even after Federer’s victory, spectators lined up to pay tribute to one of the nation’s finest sportsmen.
Despite falling at the final hurdle, many said that Murray’s gutsy performance and success could inspire youngsters to take up tennis.
Richard Green, duty manager at Craiglockhart Tennis and Leisure Centre, where a young Murray trained from the age of nine, said: “He’s still done amazingly. I think young people will look up and say ‘I want to play tennis like him’.
“He’s been beaten by someone who’s been brilliant for years. It will be interesting to see how busy we are this week. Our tennis programme here is already stowed out. Andy Murray has had a real impact.”
Craig Allen, who has been a tennis coach for 20 years, added: “Andy Murray’s success has made more kids pick up a racket and play. I think it was more about having a British player in the Wimbledon final. Winning would have been a bonus, but the first obstacle was getting someone to the final.
“Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer can seem superhuman, but Andy Murray is a kid from round the corner.”
At Festival Square, the tension was palpable as the historic final got under way. Even as hope faded when the Swiss began to dominate, the crowds remained firmly behind Murray, and the cheer as he was introduced as runner-up was one fit for a champion.
Michael Campbell, of Fairmilehead, said: “I’m gutted, but he lost to the better man. He did himself proud, you can’t ask for much more.”
The weekend was a double-disappointment for former Edinburgh solicitor Robert Mackenzie, who had travelled to the Capital from north of Inverness to show off his cold pressed rapeseed oil at the Taste of Edinburgh Festival, which was cancelled due to the rain.
“It wasn’t the result I had hoped for. I thought he was going to do it,” he said. “But it’s amazing to see how much Andy Murray has improved.”
Sturgeon: Gutted for Andy but he did us and, more importantly, himself proud. Firmly believe his grand slam day will come. Well done Andy Murray!!
@WelshIrvine: Well done Andy Murray, you did us proud son. Best ever performance by a British player in a major tourney since Fred P.
@BoogieForth1: Hold your head up high Andy Murray. Your time will come. @andy_murray
@rebelraising: Poor Andy. It’s not right to make a Scotsman cry in public. #wimbledon
@russellcrowe: Federer, all hail ,7th Wimbledon championship. Andy Murray, you are a champion in my eyes, one day mate it will be you. #riseandriseagain
@MrMarkBeaumont: Very well played @andy_murray – Scotland is very proud of you