Since Fred Perry defeated the German Gottfried von Cramm in a one-sided 6-1 6-1 6-0 final to claim his third successive men’s Wimbledon singles title 77 years ago, Britain has pinned its hopes on a procession of native challengers, each of whom have come and gone without success.
Andy Murray finally ended that interminable wait by beating Novak Djokovic on Sunday, but the wait has been so long there has been talk of curses and jinxes.
But was there ever really a curse?
In truth, in the seven decades since Fred Perry’s three-peat as Wimbledon champion, Britain has never produced a legitimate Wimbledon contender - with the exception of 1939 runner-up Bunny Austin.
Roger Taylor made a few semifinal appearances back in the 1960s and 70s, but in the era of Rod Laver and John Newcombe his chances of going any further were slim to none.
His one real opportunity was in 1973, when the vast majority of top players boycotted the event allowing unknown Jan Kodes to break through and take the title after narrowly beating Taylor in the semis.
Throughout the 70s, 80s and early 90s, top British prospects Mark Cox, John Lloyd, Buster Mottram and Jeremy Bates between them never made it passed the fourth round.
But these players weren’t cursed, they simply weren’t good enough.
Hope of a British champion was rekindled when Greg Rusedski elected to represent Britain over his native Canada in 1995, but his lone run to the quarterfinals in 1997 was an outlier in a Wimbledon career that was better defined by disappointing early round exits.
Then came Tim Henman.
Clean-cut, polite and unassuming, Henman exemplified the British aesthetic to a tee. However, his game, while without any obvious weaknesses, lacked a grand slam caliber weapon.
Compared to Pete Sampras’ serve, Andre Agassi’s forehand, and Patrick Rafter’s volleys, Tim Henman’s smooth and steady game did not resemble that of a Wimbledon champion.
And yet, from 1996 to 2004 Henman made four semifinal and four quarterfinal appearances, often falling to one of the giants of the game.
His best opportunity came in 2001, when he seemed set to make his first final only to lose out to a revived and inspired Goran Ivanisevic who seemed to have destiny - and Mother Nature, in the form of very timely rain delays - on his side.
Henman’s consistent runs into the second week re-energized the British public’s interest in Wimbledon.
Fans packed the All England Club’s grounds to find a patch of grass on Aorangi Terrace to watch his matches on the big screen. The lawn would go on to be known colloquially as "Henman Hill."
The British media treated Henman like a choker but it is arguable he was an over-achiever, out-matched by legends of the game. If anything, Henman was blessed, rather than cursed.
Equally, Britain has been far from cursed in the other Wimbledon events.
Virginia Wade captured the ladies’ singles title in 1977, just 26 years ago. Last year Jonathan Marray claimed the men’s doubles titles, and even Andy Murray’s own brother Jamie has a Wimbledon title, having won the mixed doubles back in 2007.
Simply put: there never was a curse.
In fact, if there was any supernatural intervention, it was destiny.
In his seventh grand slam final; on the seventh day of the seventh month; facing an opponent seven days younger than him; Andy Murray attempted to claim a title first contested in 1877, becoming the first Brit to do so in 77 years, and the first to win either single championship since Virginia Wade back in 1977.
Of course, Novak Djokovic was also looking to claim his seventh grand slam title.
Just one year before, Murray had lost his first Wimbledon final to all-time great Roger Federer. In an emotional post-match speech, the Scot sobbed into the microphone, telling the crowd “I’m getting closer.”
He was right.
Just a few weeks later, he was afforded an opportunity few athletes are ever given; a second chance at Wimbledon - this time to claim Olympic gold.
Facing the same foe, on the same court, Murray overcame his demons and captured a title that seemed for all intents and purposes to be everything he had missed out on in that ill-fated Wimbledon final.
But it wasn’t a slam. That milestone would have to wait until later that summer, when the Scot defeated Djokovic in five sets to become the U.S. Open champion.
When he returned to the All England Club in 2013, he was now an Olympic gold medalist, a grand slam champion and a national treasure.
Under the pupilage of the stoic Ivan Lendl, Murray also had a newfound focus on court, less prone to the outbursts that had once plagued his career and notably steadier under the brightest of spotlights.
The final game on Sunday was a microcosm of the match as a whole.
Serving at 40-love, with three championship points on his racket, Murray looked a lock to become Wimbledon champion.
But Djokovic rallied, tied it up and moved ahead, proving once again that getting to match point and beating the Serb are two totally different tasks.
The final few points saw dead netcords, incredible angled passing shots and unimaginable return-winners as Djokovic threw everything at Murray for 11 minutes and 47 seconds.
It was pure unadulterated torture for the 15,000 inside Centre Court, the countless thousands on Henman Hill and the millions all over Britain.
But, as Djokovic said after finally succumbing, “It wasn’t enough.”
“Imagine playing it,” Murray quipped when asked about the agony of watching of the final game.
Even the poker-faced Lendl couldn’t resist a rare micro-smile, as his lips quivered, suggesting that emotion was being shielded behind his ever-present sunglasses.
Murray said after the match that he doesn’t remember what happened in the last game. You can be assured that if he comes within eyeshot of a television during Wimbledon for the rest of his life, he’ll soon have every shot memorized.
The real question is, now that everyone in Britain knows that he can win Wimbledon, will he be expected to do it every year, and what happens if he can’t?
After all, Fred Perry won three in a row.