ANDY Murray could never have been accused of wearing his heart on his sleeve during his career.
A steely determination to get the job done has at times earned him a reputation for being dour and unemotional.
But yesterday he took his fans by surprise with an unusual display of his feelings on court, reducing the nation to tears.
The 25-year-old showed a very different side after breaking down on Centre Court in the wake of his Wimbledon final defeat at the hands of Roger Federer.
For years he has never been one to give much away, but yesterday in front of a worldwide audience Murray won the fans' hearts when he couldn't control the emotions any longer.
He reduced girlfriend Kim Sears and mother Judy Murray to tears, as well as armchair tennis fans up and down the country.
"I'm going to try this and it's not going to be easy," he said, his voice cracking after taking the microphone from BBC TV presenter Sue Barker.
He congratulated his opponent before talking about "Team Murray".
"I'm going to try and not look at them because I'll probably start crying again, but everyone who is in that corner over there, who has supported me ... we did a great job, so thank you.
"And last of all to you guys," he said tearfully to the crowd.
His tears in front of a worldwide TV audience of tens of millions led Murray – the first British man to reach the final for 74 years – to apologise to Federer, whose victory makes him joint Wimbledon men's record holder with Pete Sampras.
In his post-match press conference, Murray revealed he had apologised to Federer for his show of emotion.
He said: "I just said to him, 'Sorry. I didn't obviously want that to happen'.
"You feel like you're kind of attention-seeking or something. It was not like that at all.
"And I knew it before, because they asked me if I wanted to do the interview. I knew it was going to be hard because I just felt it.
"I've seen Roger do the same thing a couple times before, so he kind of knows what it's like. He said that, you know, he just laughed. He said: 'This is meant to be the easy part, doing the speeches after the match'.
"But sometimes it feels quite hard compared with playing a tennis match."
At the start of the match Murray took to the court to deafening applause.
The atmosphere was incredible, with fans poised on the edge of their seats, "oo-ing" and "aah-ing" at every point.
Prime Minister David Cameron was spotted with his hand to his mouth in awe, occasionally exchanging jokes with London Mayor Boris Johnson and Deputy PM Nick Clegg.
And the Duchess of Cambridge chatted excitedly at times with her younger sister Pippa Middleton.