By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Andy Murray's transformation from moody teenager to national golden boy is complete, according to his mother Judy.
Not always a natural fit with British tennis crowds still wistful about the days of nearly-man Tim Henman, the 25-year-old won the nation's hearts last month when he cried on court after losing to Roger Federer in his first Wimbledon final.
On Sunday he returned to the same court with the whole country willing him to an Olympic gold medal.
He did not let them down, winning in three straight sets in what he called the "best match of his life".
British Fed Cup captain Judy, who watches all of her son's matches, said something changed after his gallant defeat last month by Federer when he had been carrying hopes of a first home Wimbledon men's champions since 1936.
"The British public, I think their reaction to his defeat, it surrounded him with so much love and admiration," she told Reuters as her son waved to hundreds of cheering supporters from an overhead walkway at the All England Club.
"I think they respected him that day not just for how he played but also how emotional he was at the end and they realised all the years and years of work that had gone in to creating that performance.
"He felt so much love after that final even though he lost it he came into the Olympics very composed and focused and played fantastic tennis all week."
When Murray replaced Henman as the British number one, many did not like his dour off-court demeanour and even criticised him for his fluffy whiskers and messy hair; and being Scottish.
"There is no question the crowd have embraced him now," Judy said. "And it has helped his tennis and his confidence.
"This has been a major breakthrough for Andy. He has played four grand slam finals but this will rank up there in terms of importance.
"To come through like he did, to beat Roger Federer in three sets, arguably the best player of all time, that will give him so much more confidence and he can go onwards and upwards from here I hope."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)