Almost 17 million people watched Andy Murray battle it out in the Wimbledon final on Sunday - the second highest television audience of the year.
Only the Queen's jubilee concert, which was seen by 17.09 million people, drew a larger audience than the Scot's Centre Court battle with Roger Federer.
It is also thought to be the biggest tennis audience since at least 1990.
At the peak of the match, an audience of 16.9 million tuned in according to figures released on Monday. That is two-thirds of the TV audience at the time.
Murray, 25, lost 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 to Swiss Federer.
Figures showed that an average of 11.4 million viewers tuned in for the duration of the BBC's coverage.
They saw the British number one break down in tears as he spoke to the crowd, to thank them, and his family, for the deafening applause throughout the match.
The nation watched as Murray fought to become the first British man to win the title since Fred Perry in 1936. Instead it was Federer who made history, equalling Pete Sampras's record of seven Wimbledon titles.
The 30-year-old now has a total of 17 Grand Slams, and has restored his world number one ranking.
Murray, who is representing Great Britain in the Olympics in just a few weeks, said he plans to take some time away from the game.
He said: "There's no point in going on the court until I'm ready to go out there and learn and work hard and do the right things in the gym and in practice.
"So I'll wait and see how my body recovers after the next few days. I fell a lot of times this tournament. I got a lot of bruises all over my body and stuff. So I need to take a few days off, let everything heal, recover, and then see. But I won't be on the court next week, that's for sure."
Murray's unusual display of emotion on court took fans by surprise, also reducing girlfriend Kim Sears and mother Judy Murray to tears.
He said: "I'm going to try this and it's not going to be easy."
He congratulated Federer and thanked "Team Murray" for their support.
He said: "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. Everybody always talks about the pressure of playing at Wimbledon, how difficult it is. It's not the people watching, they make it so much easier to play. The support has been incredible."
Murray was watched by stars in the Royal Box, including the Duchess of Cambridge and sister Pippa Middleton, David and Victoria Beckham, and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Also present were Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, London Mayor Boris Johnson, and a host of former tennis stars, while Rupert Murdoch and his wife were also watching.
Praise poured in for the Scot, despite his loss.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Andy played an outstanding match and did Scotland proud. For Andy there is not just next year, but, as he said himself, he is getting ever closer to that Grand Slam breakthrough."
- Roger Federer v Andy Murray: As it happened in the Wimbledon final
- Footage of the rise of Andy Murray from child prodigy to Wimbledon finalist
- Andy Murray 'can win Wimbledon' according to former UK tennis ace Castle
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