Roger Federer defeats a tearful Andy Murray at the finals of Wimbledon

By Lisa-Marie Burrows

Wimbledon, London – There were tears all around on Centre Court on Sunday as Andy Murray fell short of victory at the hands of Roger Federer in four sets 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 4-6.  Roger Federer fell to the floor with tears in his eyes as he looked at his team in disbelief, whilst a heartbroken Andy Murray could barely string a sentence together during the on court presentation ceremony and needed time to compose himself. Murray wept, many on Centre Court wept and most likely everyone who was watching at home wept for him too.

The match between Roger Federer and Andy Murray was about lifting the coveted trophy at the Championships and chasing numbers for the two competitors. For Roger Federer he had the opportunity to regain the world No.1 position in the rankings, break his own record and win 17 Grand Slams and of course win Wimbledon for the 7th time.  For Andy Murray, it was his big chance to win the title for the first time since 1938 – a statistic, which he has never been able to forget and an opportunity to put to bed that elusive ‘will he or won’t he ever win a Slam?’ question.  The meeting between the two was so much more than a match; it was a real numbers game and about making history.

As Roger Federer and Andy Murray stepped out onto the court under a blue, sunny sky, the atmosphere was electric and the crowd roared with delight during their entrance.  So much pressure and expectation has been placed on the young shoulders of Andy Murray and the question was whether he could contain his nerves.  The weight of his own dream and the dream of the nation were there for Murray to bear.  For Britain it has been a fantastic couple of years with William and Catherine’s Royal wedding, the Queen’s jubilee, the impending Olympics in London and of course Andy Murray reaching the final at Wimbledon.  At the All England Club today it was a case of H1STORY versus HIS7ORY.

The Centre Court was full to the rafters and those without tickets watched on from ‘Henman Hill’ and court No.2.  The Royal Box for the Wimbledon final was also brimming with prestigious spectators including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Steve Redgrave and the Beckhams, but to the delight of the public it was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and sister Pippa whose attendance was most appreciated, as they are big fans of tennis.

The match started with a strenuous, emotional rollercoaster of an opening set which saw Andy Murray come out the better player as nerves seemed to prevent Federer from playing his natural game and the Scot took the advantage by breaking the six-time champion’s serve first.  Staying calm from the onset was something he hoped to do as stated in his BBC Sport blog:

“Although it’s my first Wimbledon final, I was in this position at the 2008 US Open and the Australian Open in 2010 and 2011. I know how it’s going to feel and although there will be nerves, I know how to deal with them and use it as a positive.”

He continued with his positivity until the fourth game where Murray was swiftly broken back and his lead was court short after a loose game from and a raise in the level of play from Federer. This was a temporary rise, as the world No.4 refused to back down after breaking the Swiss maestro and exposing his second serve.  After 57-miuntes of play, to the delight of the crowd, Murray sealed the first set 6-4 – the first time that he had ever won a set in a Grand Slam final.

The start of the second set saw Murray put further pressure on Federer’s serve after having four break point opportunities in two games, but he was unable to convert any.  During the set, one would have been forgiven for thinking that Murray still had the mental and physical edge as Federer was looking slightly fatigued during their long rally exchanges and it seemed to be heading towards a tie-break, however, Federer had different plans.  Murray was serving at 5-6, 30-0 up when Federer initiated his assault – and cleverly timed change of tactics.  He began to pull Murray from side to side at the baseline then charged the net for appropriately timed and perfectly executed drop volleys.  A backhand slice drop shot was sheer brilliance from the former world No.1 enabling him to steal the second set from seemingly nowhere at 7-5.

As the mood and hopes of Andy Murray darkened, so did the weather. Dark clouds rolled in and interrupted play at the start of the third set and the final went from an outdoor tournament to an indoor tournament, as the roof was closed in order to finish the match.  With the roof closed the conditions were different, as were the general acoustics around the court.

The spectators continued to cheer and raise the roof under the confinement of shelter but the third set did little to lift their spirits.  Andy Murray was embroiled in a 20-minute game after being 40-0 up, but could not finish the game as the resurgent Roger forced Murray to save five break points, but he couldn’t save the sixth.  Federer’s serve continued to boom as he sealed the third set 6-3 with an ace.

Once again, it was the nations hope, Andy Murray, that had a break point opportunity first during Federer’s opening service game in the fourth set, but a well paced serve out wide prevented the Scot from getting much a play on the ball.

In the fifth game, Federer was on the prowl and could sense a change in the tightly fastened air, as he pressurized Murray’s second serve.  The three-time Grand Slam finalist tried to give Federer something different to look at as he stormed the net, but a short ball with little angle meant Murray could do nothing more than watch as Federer struck a beautifully timed backhand passing shot across court that flew by along with his confidence.  Murray suddenly looked a different man to the player that came out in the first set. His shoulders were slumped, his head was down and there was a sad look of desperation in his eyes.

Eventually Andy Murray lost to one of the greatest players of all time.  Federer’s experience on grass showed as he changed his tactics, became more aggressive and charged the net frequently.

Roger Federer was clearly delighted during his presentation ceremony to return to the No.1 ranking position, to win 7 titles at Wimbledon and increase his Grand slam record to 17.  It is unfortunate for an emotional Andy Murray that he is playing in an era of greats where tennis is so heavily dominated by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.  In his presentation speech, Murray could barely speak into the microphone and needed a moment to regain his composure as he congratulated Roger Federer:

“Roger’s not bad for a 30 year old. He struggled with his back early on, but he showed what fight he has left in him.”

Murray continued with his voice wobbling and hands shaking as he thanked his team who he could not look at for fear of breaking down once more.

It was a day of joy for Roger Federer and bitter disappointment for Andy Murray and usually at the end of Wimbledon there is a moment of sadness that it is all over, a moment of reflection from the last two weeks, but this year, the players will be back in action in 20-days at SW19 for the start of the Olympics and what an exciting Olympic Games we have ahead of us.

(Photo credit: AELTC)

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About Lisa-Marie Burrows

Lisa-Marie Burrows has a MA in Sports Broadcast Journalism and is a freelance sports journalist. She has covered many national and international tennis tournaments and has worked in Paris for Eurosport News channel. She is a member of the International Press Association and a journalist for its online magazine, IMPress. She has contributed articles for various leading websites including www.tennisgrandstand.com, www.worldtennismagazine.com, www.tennisbloggers.com, www.tennisscoop.co.uk and www.olympictennis.net. Lisa-Marie operates her tennis website www.tennisnewsviews.com where you can read her reports. She can be reached at lburrows@internationalpress.com or on Twitter @TennisNewsViews.

View all posts by Lisa-Marie Burrows

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