Five thoughts on Roger Federer’s victory over Andy Murray which gave him a seventh Wimbledon title and a seventeenth grand slam.
So one tennis nation’s long wait for another grand slam title came to an end inside Centre Court, as Switzerland’s Roger Federer won his first major for two and a half years. The British tennis public had to make do with the sight of the greatest grass-court player of all time putting himself level with Pete Sampras on seven Wimbledon titles. And returning to world No 1, so equalling the American’s mark of 286 weeks at the top of the rankings. Federer knows the choreography of a Wimbledon final – it was his eighth. This was all new for Murray, Britain’s first male single finalist at Wimbledon since Bunny Austin in 1938, and it was hardly surprising that he became so emotional when the BBC’s Sue Barker gave him a microphone (his girlfriend Kim Sears, watching from his support box, needed a hug from his physiotherapist Andy Ireland).
No one should imagine that these were tears of self-pity, that he was attention-seeking, or should deride him in any way for breaking down. It was the second time that Federer has made Murray cry in a grand slam final – Federer also did so at the 2010 Australian Open after a straight-sets victory, which had been the Swiss’s last major until this one. On that occasion Murray said of his emotional rival: ‘I can cry like Roger, it’s a shame I can’t play like him.’ It was different this time; during the first and second sets, Murray was often playing better than Roger.
“I’m getting closer,” said Murray, and he was right. This was his fourth grand slam final, and he has lost all four (just as his coach Ivan Lendl did before winning eight majors), but there can be no doubt that this was the first occasion that he had really got into one of them. It was the first time he had won a set in a slam final, and he was twice within a point of breaking to serve for a two-set lead.
The roof went across, the air-conditioning came on, and Federer played the best tennis of the tournament. Jimmy Connors made the point during the rain delay that going indoors would favour each player: the conditions would aid Federer’s game and Murray would be helped by the roof containing the noise from the crowd (that was plainly the case with rthe cries of “Andy, Andy” that came during the last changeover). In the first half of this match, played outside, there was hardly anything between the two. Indeed, Murray was the more assured of the two in the opening set, as Federer worked through some nerves, and it would not have been so shocking to have seen him go two sets up – though it has to be noted that Federer played some cute tennis to level the final at a set apiece. When the roof came across, Federer was the better player.
If there was one shot that Murray would be happy to have all over again it would be the backhand in the second set when he had a point to break Federer for a 5-4 lead. He fired long. Thirty seconds later, Murray had another opportunity to break, but did not get into the point.
Federer completed what has been an excellent tournament for the over-30s, with his win coming a day after Serena Williams won the women’s titles. Can Federer reach 20 grand slam titles?