Roger Federer breaks British hearts
Switzerland's Roger Federer reacts to breaking serve in the fourth set of his men's singles final match against Britain's Andy Murray (Image: AFP Leon Nea)
“I’m getting closer.” The choked words from the highly-emotional Andy Murray after he’d been beaten 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 in 3 hours 24 by Roger Federer in the Wimbledon singles final last night.
The first Brit since Bunny Austin 74 years ago to reach the decider at the home of tennis, the Scot didn’t let down any one of his millions of supporters, he gave it his all.
It could have been a vastly different story had Murray won the second set. He had every chance but couldn’t convert any one of four break points, while Federer had made 24 unforced errors in those two sets to Murray’s eight.
The critical period was 1-1 in the third set when rain stopped play.
The sixth game of that set lasted 20 minutes with 10 deuces on Murray’s serve. Federer eventually broke on his sixth break point.
Murray had missed the chance to topple the tennis titan from Switzerland, who racked up his seventh Wimbledon crown, and regained the world number one ranking for the 286th week of his career, to share both records with the idol of his younger days – Pete Sampras.
At 30, and not having won a Slam since the 2010 Australian Open – nine Slams ago – Federer is a remarkably resilient tennis player.
The way he played in the semis against the previous number one Novak Djokovic was sublime tennis, right off the top shelf. As crisp and authorative as he’s ever been.
He wasn’t up to that exalted standard last night, especially losing the first set. But when push came to shove from there on it was Federer who pulled out the big serve, and made the critical passing shot, or volley.
In the end it was Federer’s 62 winners to 46, his 69% first serving to 56%, and 151 points to 137 that saw him home for his record 17th Slam, three more Sampras.
Among the host of records he owns, Federer has reached 24 Slam finals in 37 tournaments between Wimbledon 2003, and last night. The closest is Ivan Lendl with 19 from 40 between the 1981 French Open, and the 1991 Australian Open.
Ironically Lendl is Murray’s coach, and he lost four Slam finals before he won his first of eight. Last night was Murray’s fourth Slam final loss, what odds he can win his next final?
A salute to the packed Wimbledon centre court crowd. As much as they were willing Andy Murray to win a Wimbledon crown to break the British drought since Fred Perry in 1936, they were very responsive to every one of Roger Federer’s winners, and especially at the presentation.
Suncorp please note.