LONDON – If Andy Murray becomes Britain’s first men’s Wimbledon champion in 77 years, he’ll celebrate with a modest plate of sushi and a piece of chocolate in stark contrast to the growing hysteria of his compatriots.
The 26-year-old Scot tackles world number one Novak Djokovic later Sunday bidding to be the first home winner since Fred Perry in 1936.
Not that Murray, who was beaten by Roger Federer in the 2012 final, will have his head turned.
“I don’t actually like junk food these days. I used to love it but, apart from the odd pizza, nowadays I’d prefer to go for a nice meal. If I did win on Sunday sushi would definitely feature in there somewhere,” Murray told the BBC.
On hand to watch in the Royal Box on Centre Court will be the usual mix of blue-bloods, sports stars and celebrities.
Victoria Beckham, Wayne Rooney as well as actors Gerard Butler and Bradley Cooper will be taking their seats in the hope of seeing history made.
With national media already crowing over the British and Irish Lions’ rugby thumping of Australia and eagerly anticipating a landslide victory for their cricketers when the Ashes gets underway next week, Murray is expected to continue the theme.
“Whether or not Andy Murray can break through the next level of shackles the nation has wrapped around his psyche — the 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s champion — his final against Novak Djokovic will almost certainly be an ordeal,” wrote The Observer.
The Sunday Times added: “Andy Murray will wake today believing he will never have a better opportunity to end Britain’s interminable wait for a winner of the Wimbledon men’s singles”.
The Sunday Telegraph predicts worldwide stardom for Murray should he win a second career major following his Grand Slam breakthrough victory at the US Open last year.
“A Wimbledon victory for Andy Murray today would turn him from a British hero into a global superstar,” said the newspaper.
Murray already has lucrative sponsorship deals as well as having raked in over $27 million in career prize money.
On the 2013 Sunday Times Rich List, his wealth was estimated to be £32 million ($47.6 million) while victory on Sunday will guarantee a winner’s cheque of £1,600,000 ($2.4m).
“He’s reported to be earning £8m ($11.9m) or £9m ($13.4m) off court at the moment. We could see that edging up to £15m ($22.3m) if he wins at Wimbledon,” Nigel Currie, director of the sports marketing agency brandRapport, told Sky News.
Meanwhile, host broadcaster BBC recorded a five-minute peak audience of 13.2 million viewers when Murray beat Jerzy Janowicz in Friday’s semi-finals.
Other sportsmen were already getting behind Murray on Sunday.
“All we need now is @LewisHamilton & @andy_murray to WIN today and its a great day for British sport! come on booooooooys !!!,” tweeted Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand.
Former England rugby union captain, Will Carling, wrote on Twitter: “I am on a roll, so whilst at it predicting Murray loses in 3 straight sets…..let’s hope I am as right about that as Lions 3rd Test! #fool.”