Andy Murray – a dream shattered. Photo: AFP
Of Tears and Tennis
A recap of the epic Wimbledon finale, which gave
Roger Federer his seventh title, with a slightly different touch
I remember the first time I heard of Andy Murray. A young player from Britain with lots of potential and a world class player in the making. Yeah right! Like I've never heard that one before.
30-40. Break point. Easy drive-volley put long. Murray breaks, first game, first set….
I remember the first time Murray caught my attention. The then 19-year-old Scot took out Roger Federer in straight sets in 2006. He became only the second player to defeat him in a year. The Swiss was in great form back then.
Federer breaks back. 2-2 now…
The first time I saw Roger Federer play, was against Pete Sampras, in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2001. Amidst focusing on how atrociously Sampras played, I did catch that the then 19-year-old Federer was quite a player and he kept his composure with grace. Oh, and he cried when he won that day.
Murray breaks again, and now he'll serve for the first set…
Murray has since carried British hopes, if not hearts. A very ordinary looking player – all elbows and knees in motion, all counter-punches and no dictating in style and a look on his face much closer to a frown than a smile.
Murray holds to take the first set 6-4…
And that'd be the first set he's ever won in a Grand Slam final. It took him 10 tries. Wonder when the next one will come?
Roger Federer wins his Wimbledon title. Photo: AFP
Second set goes on serve all the way 'til Fed breaks to take the set 7-5. Murray's been more comfortable on serve in this second set, but the margin for error against the six time champion is razor thin.
And that'd be the 58th set he's won in a Grand Slam final, or so they tell me. I thought it was the 207th!
Rain. Match halted. Back in 40 minutes, with the roof closed. Which means…
Andy Murray, the Great British Hope, is in serious trouble. The only half-chink in Federer's otherwise pristine armour is a vulnerable backhand – and on the low bouncing grass, that's only apparent on a particularly bad day (which this clearly isn't for Fed). Take the wind out of the equation, and odd mis-hit disappears too.
Murray is broken in a 20 minute game, soon after play resumes.
I have a bet going with a friend that Murray will definitely cry if he wins and almost definitely cry if he loses. Scratch that. If he finds a way to hold in the waterworks during that game, I think he'll be fine – when he loses.
3rd set done, 6-3 to Federer. Now one away from title number #7.
The second time I saw Roger Federer, he brushed aside big serving American Andy Roddick with the ease of a man using a master key in the semi-finals of Wimbledon 2003.
4th set underway. Fed's holding serve with sublime grace. Murray's holding onto serve like a drowning man clutching to a razor blade.
He went onto win that tournament. And he cried us a river at the end of it
Fed breaks to go ahead 3-2
He cried a like a baby a few years later when Rod Laver handed him the Australian Open trophy…
And consolidates the break, 4-2 now.
He cried again after losing to Nadal at the Australian Open in 2009.
Murray's a fighter. Struggle he might, but he'll push on to the grim end. He keeps holding, to force Federer to serve matters out.
Murray broke into tears after losing the Australian Open final the following year to Federer.
30-30. Half a glimmer for the first British Wimbledon finalist in 74 years (or so they tell me. I was sure it 132 years)
Someone will be in crying when this is over, I'm sure. Who – and why – are the only questions
That's that. Federer defeats Murray 6-4 5-7 3-6 4-6, to claim his 7th Wimbledon crown (tying Sampras' record), complete his 8th Wimbledon final (stand alone record), extend his tally of Grand Slam titles to 17 and return to world #1. (Stats are so dull, aren't they?)
No tears for Fed. Murray does his best, but out flows the liquid emotion.