Whether he was fueled by the memory of last year’s gut-wrenching defeat or simply the desire to extinguish a 77-year drought, Andy Murray got it done. On July 7, the world No. 2 accomplished what no other British man had been able to do since Fred Perry in 1936: win Wimbledon.
The victory was fitting for the 26-year-old Murray, who had captured the 2012 Olympic gold medal on the same grass court last August, not long after he’d fallen just short in his first-ever Wimbledon final to then-No. 1, Roger Federer. This time around, he again would have to face the world’s top-ranked tennis player, Novak Djokovic, but at last, a Brit prevailed.
Though the win was deservedly noteworthy, it also caught people’s attention for bringing to an end one of the sports world's most notable, albeit unfortunate, winless streaks. Outside of tennis, many sports droughts have taken on a life of their own over the years, though perhaps none are more infamous than that of the Chicago Cubs. Not since 1908 have the North Siders captured a World Series title, nor have they even had a chance to since 1945, and it continues to stand as the longest championship drought of the four major American professional sports.
The city of Cleveland can certainly relate, having not experienced the thrill of a championship since the Browns won in the pre-Super Bowl era in 1964. Consequently, that fact also throws them into the category of NFL teams without a Super Bowl appearance, along with the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars. On the flip side, 14 NFL franchises have reached at least one Super Bowl but have yet to prevail, such as the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, and Tennessee Titans.
And then there are some teams that have never reached the postseason in general. While college basketball’s Northwestern Wildcats have made NIT appearances, the program is still in search of its first NCAA Tournament berth. That time may come sooner rather than later, too, as former longtime Duke assistant coach, Chris Collins, was hired to take over the program at the conclusion of last season.
Championship droughts aren’t exclusive to teams, either, as individual athletes have been affected through the years as well. Current world No. 1 golfer, Tiger Woods, is certainly no stranger to championships, but this past June did mark five years since he collected his last major at the 2008 US Open. He’ll have two more opportunities for redemption this year, including next week at the British Open and August’s PGA Championship.
Unlike Woods, some of his fellow athletes retired before ever having the chance to raise a championship trophy in triumph. Among the most notable are Charles Barkley, Dan Marino, Barry Sanders, Ted Williams, Karl Malone, and John Stockton.
Of course, sports fans know better than to count out teams and athletes, though, because if there’s anything to be learned from Murray’s victory, it’s that droughts, however long, are bound to one day come to an end.