LONDON (REUTERS) - Once the immediate euphoria of winning Wimbledon for a second time had subsided, the tears flowing down Andy Murray's face bore testament to the sheer relief surging through his body.
Instead of gallivanting up the stands through the throng of spectators to hug his nearest and dearest - as he had done in 2013 when he ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's champion - Murray simply slumped into his chair and sobbed into a towel relieved to have ended a 36-month search for a third grand slam title with victory over Milos Raonic.
That barren stretch had included coming off second best in this year's Australian and French Open finals to his nemesis-in-chief, Novak Djokovic.
While the world number one's shock third-round departure from Wimbledon elevated Murray to the title favourite during the second week of the championships, he also knew that one false move on Sunday could leave him with the dubious distinction of becoming the first man in the professional era to lose the finals of the season's first three grand slam events.
"I've had some great moments but also some tough losses and this win feels extra special because of the tough losses," Murray said moments after spotting his name on the gilded surface of the Challenge Cup.
"I'm proud to get my hands on the trophy again," added the 29-year-old, who beat Raonic 6-4 7-6(3) 7-6(2).
With the 15,000-strong crowd, which included greats such as Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker, roaring their approval, there was one man on Centre Court who maintained a poker face throughout the jubilant celebrations.
A month after rekindling his coaching relationship with Murray following a two-year hiatus, it was job done for Ivan Lendl as Murray's win-loss record during the grasscourt season stood at 12-0.
Lendl has now proved that when it comes to Murray, he is the coach with the Midas touch.
During their first spell together, the Scot had won his previous two slam titles and the Olympic gold medal at the 2012 London Games.
In Lendl's absence, Murray had reached three major finals but each time Djokovic had proved to be a recurring nightmare that simply would not go away.
However, after winning only two of his previous 10 slam finals, the world number two hopes Sunday's victory and his reunion with Lendl will put him on the path to re-addressing that imbalance.
"Last time (in 2013) I was so relieved... there was so much stress and pressure, I didn't really get a chance to enjoy it as much," said Murray after he won his first major since getting married and becoming a father. "I'll make sure I enjoy this one."