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A soggy Wimbledon to savour

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Ben Dirs | 19:41 UK time, Sunday, 8 July 2012

At Wimbledon

The 126th Wimbledon Championships will be remembered as 'the one when Andy Murray almost got it done'. But even without the deeds of Murray, the first British man to reach a singles final at SW19 for 74 years, the tournament would have gone down in the annals as a great one.

Heartening British cameos, Aussie woe and, lest we forget, a rare home victory after all. Shocking upsets, stirring comebacks and, at the end of a fortnight when the sun rarely shone and the Centre Court roof played a starring role, two singles champions that might just be the greatest of all. BBC Sport takes stock.

FEDERER A BEAUTY AMONG BEASTS

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While plenty of British tennis fans will have taken little pleasure from watching Murray being outclassed in the men's final, many will have turned to each other after the match was done and conceded: "At least it was Federer that beat him".

In equalling Pete Sampras's record of seven singles titles, and winning his first since 2009, the graceful Federer proved the epee can still prevail over the tanks parked all over Wimbledon's hallowed lawns.

A one-handed backhand that resembles an artist flicking paint on a canvas, touch shots that belong in the Wimbledon museum, you would have to be a philistine not to appreciate him. Surely the greatest of all time?

SERENA STILL SLAMMING IT

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In January, Serena Williams proclaimed tennis wasn't really her bag: "It's not that I've fallen out of love with it. I've never liked sports." Some accused her of disrespect, others were not surprised. Like tennis or not, this year at Wimbledon she demonstrated the women's game is more vital with than without her.

Williams thought her career might be over when she went down with a career-threatening illness in 2011, and an ugly first-round defeat at Roland Garros last month, where she went down in three sets to 111th seed Virginie Razzano, left some suggesting that, at 30, her powers were on the wane.

But having looked ponderous at times in advancing to the semi-finals at SW19, Williams flicked a switch against poor Victoria Azarenka, sending down a record-breaking 24 aces and 45 winners in a straight-sets victory.

Radwanska made a fist of the final having lost the first set 6-1, but was eventually ground into the Centre Court turf by the juggernaut over the net. "I love being me," said Williams. And why not? There may never have been better.

RAFA SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES

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The tournament smouldered for three days before bursting into a mighty conflagration on the fourth evening, two-time champion and number two seed Rafael Nadal going down in five sets to world number 100 Lukas Rosol.

Nadal came into the event as the reigning French Open champion and was as short as 100-1 on to beat his mysterious Czech opponent. The 26-year-old Rosol, meanwhile, was making his debut in the main draw having lost in the first round of qualifying in his five previous attempts.

Trailing 2-1 in sets, Nadal wore the expression of a man who had popped out for bread and butter only to find himself caught up in a gunfight. The Spaniard managed to wrestle the match into a deciding set, only for Rosol, eyes as wide as saucers, to continue strafing him with aces and winners.

With the Centre Court roof in place and with 15,000 punters baying for an upset, Rosol finished off the contest ace-forehand winner-ace-ace. Rosol called his victory "a miracle", and so it proved: he lost in straight sets in the next round.

UNDERSTATED AGGIE

In this age of often toe-curling, choreographed celebrations, Agnieszka Radwanska's almost imperceptible hop on becoming the first Polish woman to reach the women's singles final at Wimbledon since 1937 was affecting.

While certainly understated, Radwanska showed how much the tournament meant to her with a stirring comeback against Serena Williams in the final, before sucking up the tears of anguish having eventually lost in three sets.

THE GREAT ROOF DEBATE

There were times during a soggy fortnight when players, punters and journalists did not know whether they were coming or going. And the same went for the tournament organisers, who still haven't got to grips with the Centre Court roof.

Here's what the Wimbledon rule-book says: "The Championships is an outdoor daytime event. Therefore, in good weather, the roof will only be used if it is too dark to play on without it." Which is a contradictory statement: if Wimbledon is an outdoor, daytime event, then what are they doing playing indoors at night?

When the roof is on, Centre Court turns from ancient sporting cathedral into something akin to a rock venue: Nadal-Rosol was a scream, while Murray's third-round victory over Marcos Baghdatis, with the Scot racing to beat the 11 o'clock cut-off point, was tremendous theatre. Clarity is all we ask for.

AUSSIE DESOLATION

The last time Prince Charles visited Wimbledon in 1970, John Newcombe beat fellow Australian Ken Rosewall to win the men's final, Margaret Court of Australia beat Billie Jean King to win the women's final and Newcombe and Tony Roche beat Rosewall and Fred Stolle in the final of the men's doubles. Oh, I should have added, Roche and Stolle were Aussies as well.

Prince Charles returned in 2012 to find Australian tennis somewhat diminished. No Australian men and only one Australian woman progressed from the first round, while Sam Stosur, the reigning US Open champion, lost in the second.

"How did I feel at the greatest tennis nation in the world descending to the depths of being less than ordinary?" said the fair dinkum Pat Cash, men's singles champion in 1987. "Not angry, not ashamed but extremely disappointed. But can I say I'm hugely surprised? Not really."

Cash blamed the poor showing on the failure of grass-roots tennis in his home country, while also lamenting the lack of former top-class players coaching the youngsters. Still, the former top-class players are there if they want them.

GREEN SHOOTS IN BLIGHTY?

If Australian tennis is in crisis, at least Aussies can point to a glorious past. When you've got publications hailing the fourth day of Wimbledon as 'Brit Thursday' because five home players have won through to the second round for the first time in six years, you know things have been awry for quite some time.

Only Murray and Heather Watson made it to the third round, and while Jonathan Marray gave cause for some cheer by becoming the first Briton to win the men's doubles for 76 years, it was hardly the stuff of a madman's dreams.

"It's the same old story," said former British number one John Lloyd. "We get a win or two and we're so happy about it. But it isn't that good in the grander scheme of things. It's still not what it should be." Murray is one almighty fig leaf, but he doesn't really need to be that big: there's not an awful lot underneath.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Great tournament, congratulations to Andy Murray. I am not his biggest fan but I felt for him today, he gave it everything against Federer but it wasn't to be. Murray normally drops into a bit of a funk following his Slam final losses, but with the Olympics on the horizon hopefully he will pick up quickly and go again. Nadal is struggling with tendonitis and Novak looks more human this year so he may have a good shot of going far in a few weeks time.

    Andy might just be unlucky, clearly the 4th best player in the world but not on the level on the top 3. Novak looked a lost player 3 years ago so maybe there is still time for Murray.

    With regards to Federer he was magnificent, he may be getting on but he is still the best when on song. The other 3 rarely take the game to their opponents but Roger keeps being the aggressor, he deserves his renaissance this year. World number 1 for the record time, 17 Slams and a beautiful family, doesn't get much better I suppose. He is probably the player who has lost out the most with all the courts slowing and becoming similar, his all court game and shot-making are majestic and the day he no longer lights up a court will be a sad one.

    The roof has been a lifesaver, the US Open has suffered from delayed finals, as did Roland Garros this year, it detracts from the spectacle so I am pleased we have the facility to get it done on time.

    With regards to the womens draw, I find their game poor to watch, Serena is just too big physically for the others, her talent is no better. Winning games 6-0, 6-1 in 1/4 finals is not good in my opinion. Thank god for the mens game.

  • Comment number 2.

    What a tremendous championships, despite Murray's near-miss - and boy he really did fight his heart out, as promised. No shame in losing to Federer.

    But John Lloyd is right; Murray aside, British tennis seems to be in as desperate shape as ever. Heather Watson for example is hugely likeable, but surely she needs a vastly more powerful serve to seriously become a contender. Laura Robson, we will have to wait and see. There seems to be next to no real likelihood of anyone following Murray's lead in the men's game, at least for the foreseeable future.

    Well done Jonathan Marray and Freddie Nielsen though, what an incredible story and an extraordinary win. Something to be treasured - it may not be as high-profile as the singles, but a first British winner for 76 years is a bit special.

    What a great tournament. Roll on next year!

  • Comment number 3.

    Surely this has been one of the most exciting Wimbledon that I have seen since a long time. Of course I'm just filled with emotions, excitement, tears of joy, whatever (feels as though I won something), but Federer's victory today will remain with me for the rest of my life, more so than any of this other grand slam victories (probably barring his French Open triumph and his consequent triumph at Wimbledon to break the all time men's grand slam record). Secondly, I can't appreciate how well Andy played today and gave everything he had. I for one have been so critical of his constant passive play and negative body language at the big stage, but today he played extremely well, but just bumped into an inspired Federer. On the evidence of today's performance, if he can continue to play like that, I see no reason why he wouldn't be grand slam champion one day. His post-match interview was just heart-warming, and I felt really sad for him, but I'm sure his time will come.

    Secondly, I have to tip my hat off to Serena. Whether you like her or not, she is a great champion, and greta champions come back from adversity, and she has done it at Wimbledon yet again. Great mental fortitude to win here after her worst grand slam performance at the French. Incredible, but special mention also has to go to Radwanska. I always use to group her with players like Wozniacki, those classic counter punchers who are consistent, but fall off at the big stage. Though she did, she played tremendously well against the mighty Serena, and she really does have variety in her game unlike her Danish friend. She can take a lot of heart from that performance, and congratulations to her.

    Of course finally, have to talk about Nadal's loss. That was by far one of the biggest upsets I've seen in men's tennis over the past decade, and it was unbelievable the way Rosol played. Like Fed alluded, Rosol was almost like in a 'trance-like' state, and went for broke. Everything worked for him in that match, and it should be inspirational for other lower-ranked guys to notice that these top guys aren't invincible. Anyone is beatable, and that's the beauty of our sport. Everyday is a new day, and you start from zero and don't know how it will end up.

    Loved this year's Wimbledon (of course partly due to Fed's win), but there were many other great matches, involving Fed, Murray, Serena, Lisicki, with her great performance against Sharapova, so a real treat. Under or not under the roof, both conditions were spectacular to watch matches in. Now, just can't wait for the Olympics to start, and see all the players grace the lawns at SW19, for a shot at Olympic glory. Bring it on!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Great blog, this was indeed a great tournament. Marray and Nielsen was a great story, especially considering Marray's best in ten previous Wimbledon's was the first round. Murray did well but Federer was too good in the end; he was simply sublime in the last two sets. Rosol's performance against Nadal was unbelievable while Radwanska was really good to watch, truly inspirational. Looking forward to the Olympics where the All England Club will be hosting once more.

    http://jedidiahgore.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/majestic-federer-too-good-for-battling.html

  • Comment number 5.

    *Wimbledons

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Get rid of the roof.

    It is supposed to be an outdoor tournament, the roof compromises it's integrity.

    They managed fine without one for about 130 years.

  • Comment number 8.

    Half-wit alert @ six!

    Definitely a great Wimbledon. Nadal getting blown away and the men's (very high quality) final were my highlights. Murray needed that second set (in which case he'd have won in five maybe four). Once it went to Federer he started playing like some sort of GOAT and nothing short of a miracle was going to stop him.

  • Comment number 9.

    As a Fed fan I was greatly pleased to see him back approaching his best and winning - again!

    I agree with sirHellsBells comment that Federer is different class when on his game. He has so much shot variety and he moves so well that he makes the other top players look like robots.

    You gotta love how he just gets on with the game without the silly mannerisms and boring time wastings antics of Nadal (especially) and Djokovic.

    Tennis will suffer when Fed retires... Hopefully that won't be for some while yet.

  • Comment number 10.

    @ 8 "sagamix"

    Deary me. You call me the half-wit yet you are deluded enough to think that had that hamster won the second set he would have gone on to win the match. Seriously? he didn't stand a chance in hell and deserved the spanking he recieved. He's a rubbsih player. Face it.

  • Comment number 11.

    'Overrated utterly rubbish numpty'

    What a ridiculous thing to say. Have you any idea how difficult it is to win Grand Slams? You have no clue what you are talking about. Only a select few in each generation reach finals, never mind four. An even more select group go and lose them all, but Andy Murray is still a world-class athlete. The only way he could possibly be overrated is if you said he was better than the three guys above him in the rankings, and nobody with any knowledge of the sport ever does so, therefore he is not overrated and never has been. He is considered among the top five tennis players in the world and he is, simple as. Reaching the Wimbledon final and taking a set of Roger Federer is a dreadful performance? Don't be so silly. Did Murray bully you in school or something? He will win a Grand Slam one day and shut the bile spewing traps of people like you.

  • Comment number 12.

    @11 "thepegasean"

    Another fool. HE WILL NEVER WIN A GRAND SLAM.

    There are other players worthy of that 4th place in the ranking that aren't as crap as Andy. The day he wins a Grand Slam, Hell will freeze over.

  • Comment number 13.

    Would like to say congratulations to all the TV camera's and all the directors and ball kids,producers and who ever makes amazing tournements possible like this.There's no other tournement in the world compares to wimbledon it's the heart of tennis.

    I think this years wimbledon 2012 was a success for all the brits that played there hearts out to Andy Murray to James Ward to Oliver Goulding Laura Robson Heather Watson and the others who played there part For a british point of view it was great to watch.This year our young british guns proved they are potentially future champions in Oliver Goulding,Laura Robson and Heather Watson and few others in the boys juniors.Exciting times for British tennis.

    But what can you say about Roger Federer he so much in love with the game he addicted to it and a great champion he is we are lucky to have someone like him in the game 17 grand slam titles amazing i think he was on god's side this year.I say that because he had huge luck in conditions against Novak Djokovic in the semi's where it was not even raining and the closed the roof and that suited federer and for djokovic he was always going to struggle so i personally feel he was sort of cheated through to the final if it was not raining before the match why close the roof? goes beyond me but you can't blame federer and for him beating a loacl home favourite in the final must of been amazing so congratulations to the greatest ever player I might be a huge Murray Fan but boy im glad he broke every record of that pete sampras he was a spolit brat he quit the game when he was losing and there's federer still competing in the greatest era of course federer is the best ever one thing i don't know how he back number 1 in the world big smile to my face his family must be very proud :).

    Andy Murray is the greatest ever player not to win a grand slam in my opinionand defo our greatest ever british tennis player.H has an amazing tennis loving nation behind him and to see him break his heart like that was so upsetting.Andy does not get the credit he deserves he fought so hard today he a great competitor and having someone like Ivan Lendl in his corner is only a positive.Andy today lost his forth grand slam final today this is where lendl gets noticed this is what he going to get paid for his work starts now.Andy made his first ever final at wimbledon I can only see that has a positive and also he made federer play his best tennis and he took a set for the first time in a grand slam final he missed to key forehands today and if he one those to points he would of ended the 76 year wait for a british player to win a slam.It's only margins at that level if murray can improve is forehand just by 3-4% then his day will come his mental strengh has improved if he belives he half way there.There is no doubt Andy murray is a very special tennis player that we all love in britain he trying so hard and he a winner to every one off our fans he touched my heart today after he cried and thats nice to see i think 20 million viewers who saw that in britain would of shread a tear aswell because we all know how much it's means to him and to a loving tennis nation he has a very special crowd at wimbledon it's shame they did not quite get behind him in the 3rd set.If he ever does win wimbledon it would be more special then Federer's 7 :) i also feel if murray was not british he would of won a couple of slams by now it's such a huge mental thing in british tennis and they same he in his prime ? right federer's not in his prime and he won at 30 so murray not got to years left he got 6-7 years

    Andy Murray your are a very special Tennis player has long has you give it 100% and put your heart and soul into it that all we ask for in britain your are very special to us and we are very grateful to have you.do it for your self andy then your nation we will never stop beliving in you you got more of a chance what tim henman had your a winner to all of us you should be very proud of your tennis achievements your day will come just keep up the hard work and you will get the rewards.

    And to all those who said '' Murray is a failure'' lets just say you obviously don't watch tennis lets put things in prospective he ranked world number 4 he won 22 career titles he been to 4 grand slam finals he got a winning record over most players in the world so how is that failaure ? that's a great achievement even qaulifying for the qaulifying round to get into wimbledon done is a great achievement.he would not even get a point aginst the players Andy murray has to play. :/

  • Comment number 14.

    Maybe he will, maybe he won't; I think he will, he has improved and there is still room for improvement; you don't agree, and of course you are entitled to that very reasonable opinion. Fair enough. What you wrote in comment 6 was utter nonsense.

  • Comment number 15.

    "You call me a half-wit" @ 10

    **

    No, I would never do such a thing! I'm identifying you as a half-wit.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ 15

    Cheers

  • Comment number 17.

    @ The_Legend_That_Is_Emile_Heskey,

    Please come back to this blog once YOU have competed in four grand slam finals and are ranked no.4 in the world.

    Until that time, no one wants to read your ill-informed opinions.

  • Comment number 18.

    The_Legend_That_Is_Emile_Heskey

    You are an embarrassment to your family and friends. I can imagine that you have never achieved anything close to what Andy Murray has in your chosen career.

    Do us all a favour and keep your poison for other websites and their forums. Your pathetic name calling and ignorance is not welcome here.

    Well done Andy Murray for a great tournament, it's only a matter if time for the major breakthrough. And credit to Roger Federer who is without doubt the greatest ever...

  • Comment number 19.

    at 13 wow you wrote an essay it seems, @ the legend
    " It was rather amusing to witness that overrated utterly rubbish numpty Andy Murray getting the treatment he truely deserves.
    Obviously Roger was going to win and rightly so. Andy must be the most overrated player to have ever lived.
    And that Oscar worthy performance after? CLASSIC! What an utterly dreadful performance by him and expect to see a lot more people"

    andy murray overrated, lol he won 8 masters tournament, 4 gs finals, nearly every time semi or final and playing the three greatest players ever.

    who actually reached number 2 first djokovic or murray, erm its was murray, djokovic and murray were at the same level from 2008 to 2010 than suddenly djokovic found something and now look at him. Also djokovic won his first grand slam by beating tsonga who at that time was a nobody, i call it lucky. Murray faced federer three times and djokovic once.

    for me i think andy murray is better than andy roddick and leytton hewitt who are both grand slam winners, its just a shame that he has three of the greatest ever, for me the US open would go to djokovic. I also believe djokovic would win around 10 slams or more and nadal 15

  • Comment number 20.

    Great men's game, this year. The women's had the fun sucked out of it after they pretty much announced Serena had won it after the fourth round. To be fair, they weren't wrong.
    Federer made a lot of unforced errors in the first set, but he played as well as I have seen in the third and fifth. Nadal and Djokovic could not have lived with that, I think.
    Considering Federer had at times been portrayed like a hunchbacked old man, his fitness was extraordinary. I did not see him panting or sweating at all, whereas Murray, the younger and supposedly fitter man, was utterly exhausted by the end.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ 16

    My absolute pleasure.

    Just let me know if you need help with anything else.

  • Comment number 22.

    Once again Roger proved that he still has the game to win a slam, I think he is the last of the old school attacking players Rafa and Nole are pretty great as well but Roger is always looking for the winner.
    I think Andy Murray will win a slam (not Roland Garros) in the next year, its coming for him, he's too good a player not to win one. Wish I could get excited about the rest of British tennis but there is no second male player to back Murray up and none of the woman have any champion quality yet. Until any of them get into the top 32 they will struggle. The Aussies are like the UK only have one class player now (although she is at least a slam champion) but no real depth.
    I hope that this years Wimbledon has convinced the BBC that their viewers love Tennis particulary Grand Slam, ITV did well with Roland Garros but the BBC did shortchange the viewers with the Aussie open so hopefully with the Olympics out the way the first slam of the year will get the FTA showings it deserves.

  • Comment number 23.

    Personally, I believe Andy is a decent player and obviously he is no failure having won masters series as well as other tournaments. However, I do not see Andy winning a grand slam as long as the top 3 are still in the game. He might get lucky if the gods smile on him and the top 3 exit before the final or absent due to injuries or illness.
    I say this because he just doesn't have the tools to beat them in a best of five. Barring twice when he beat Nadal (once in the semis of the US Open and the other in the quarters of the Aussie Open where Nadal retired). His game is just too passive, hoping his opponent makes a mistake whereas the top 3 are always in search of winners all the time.
    Finally I must give him credit for taking the fight to Federer today and subsequently he was able to take a set off him. Hopefully he would keep it up and maybe he might be able to lift a grand slam trophy even with the top 3 present.
    Long live the FEDEX!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    @19: "for me i think andy murray is better than andy roddick and leytton hewitt who are both grand slam winners, its just a shame that he has three of the greatest ever"
    ------------------------
    Murray is a better player than Roddick & Hewitt as the rankings prove but not sure you can say Murray is better when comparing to the prime periods of both Roddick & Hewitt.

    Do you also really believe Nadal & Djokovic can be tagged as "the greatest ever", alongside greats like Federer, Sampras, Lendl, McEnroe, Borg, Lever etc??? Maybe in 5 - 8 years or so when we can see how many GS titles they have achieved.....

  • Comment number 25.

    woy-of-the-wovers - I know you weren't directing that question at me but I'd like to answer it as well - Nadal definitely has to be in the debate, he's won 12 majors (including the Olympic gold) and has a massive winning record in majors against Federer, as well as a tremendous Davis Cup record. It's too early for Djokovic to be in that debate but I believe he will be eventually.

    For me, this has been the best Wimbledon in a few years. It all took off with the Rosol win, that totally ignited the tournament. Nothing against Nadal, but he HAD to lose that match with how well Rosol was playing. Far too often, we've seen players take the top four the distance in the early rounds but come up short. Rosol proved it was possible to get the job done. The very next evening, Federer comes from two points away from elimination to defeat Benneteau, and the next night Murray JUST manages to win his match in time so that he doesn't have to finish it on the Monday. It was an incredible run of rounds. The Murray/Ferrer match was a genuine classic, it's a shame really that it didn't go to five sets because it deserves to be remembered for a long time. Federer in the end truly justified his victory because he came through multiple different types of adversity - first from the Benneteau performance, then the back injury against Malisse, and finally from his recent losing record (and heartbreaking losses at the US Open in 2010 and 2011 especially) against Djokovic. He didn't let any of it affect him, and if anyone was going to beat Murray I'm delighted it was Federer. Murray's proven throughout the championship, in the final, and in his speech that he is a true professional and a gentleman who will one day be a credible Grand Slam champion, but today was not his day.

    Overall, with the exception of the first three days (which were a bit forgettable), this has probably been the most exciting and unpredictable Grand Slam tournament since the 2009 French Open.

  • Comment number 26.

    I personally thought Andy played very well today. He was aggressive and really took the game to Federer, especially in the first two sets. Unfortunately for him, Federer is an absolute monster when it comes to playing indoors! I reckon Andy would have had a very good chance if he'd managed to grab the 2nd set but from 1-1 there was only going to be one winner with the roof on.

    I still believe he'll win a slam, and I reckon the next 2 could come at the right time for him.

    The tournament as a whole was compulsive viewing! Rafa losing, Murray vs Baghdatis, Federer vs Benneteau etc were all brilliant matches and there were even some crackers on the womens side.

    Lastly, well done Jonny Marray. The final was fantastic and, based on that match alone, they thoroughly deserved the trophy!

  • Comment number 27.

    Also, let's remember Marray and Nielson's amazing victory, the biggest upset in many years. And finally, don't feed the troll known as 'The_Legend_That_Is_Emile_Heskey'. I wouldn't even give him the dignity of calling him a "seasonal tennis fan" - he simply doesn't follow the game at all. Don't treat him with anything resembling legitimacy because he hasn't earned it. Ignore his fatuous, uneducated ramblings.

  • Comment number 28.

    Felt sorry for Murray and he's just unfortunate that he's in an era where there's 3 legends. I think he will win one and if/when he does it will feel extra special and much sweeter, he does seem to be taking it much harder he loses a final though, and the more he loses the deeper the frustration and he becomes desperate, he's already got a lot of baggage now and if he loses another say 2 final's he could start giving up, his motivation could disappear.

    Federer was magnificent though and fully deserved his 7th Wimbledon and 17th GS in in total, the greatest ever IMO.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am sorry but Murray will never win a Grand Slam he is not hungry enough.He won that first set and should have gone for the jugular.
    He is in the same vein as the likes of Tim Henman,ColinMontgomerie,Jimmy White and Frank Bruno versus Mike Tyson.
    They never had the killer instinct.

  • Comment number 30.

    What is an "epee"?

  • Comment number 31.

    I didn't watch much of the final, I assumed Murray would lose and was more interested in the Tour De France which was being shown on ITV at the same time. A couple of thoughts occur. The first is why are the BBC making such a fuss of a sport we are so bad at (Murray getting beaten even making the news) while almost ignoring what might be the first British win in the Tour ever. Could it be because they have the TV rights for the tennis ? Secondly if Dave Brailsford had been running tennis instead of cycling for the past decade would we now be competing with the Spanish for the title of strongest tennis nation ?

  • Comment number 32.

    31-you could have watched both, The Tour was done by 4.45pm and Wimbledon was still going until just after 6. I agree that if Wiggins wins then it will be a phenomenal achievement for a small cycling nation such as ours, and credit must go to SKY for pumping so much in to make it a possibility.

    Of course the BBC will talk up Wimbledon, they spend a fortune on it, but both sports are difficult to master and take enormous dedication. Good point re Brailsford, I do think we need a complete overhaul of our sorting structure in both tennis & football. Murray needed to travel to Spain, instead of working with the LTA to become a top player. He must have thought something would hold him back if he stayed in this country. Andy is actually not a product of British tennis.

    Lets hope the BBC push the agenda more to see what is going wrong and what needs to change, we throw enough money at it for the results to be that bad is shocking.

  • Comment number 33.

    OK, so now I know what an epee is.

    The thing about the "Murray would have been great" argument is that it cuts both ways. Yes, if he had played at this level in a different era, he most likely would have won some slams. But, if he had not played in this era, would his game have reached its current level?

    Nadal and Djoker both say not. They both claim Federer raised the bar and forced them to become better players, better than they expected to achieve.

    So, while it is fair to say Murray is achieving a very high level of tennis, it is pure speculation to wonder what might have been in a different era.

    For me, Murray needs to do what Djoker did, and beat all the top guys consistently, not just beat them very occasionally.

    Nadal is a special case. He has a claim to being the second best of all time, or at least be right up there with the contenders. The Djoker will need to come back and dominate for a while yet before he contends as one of the goats. But, for Mr Murray, he first needs to arrive at the scene.

    I don't write him off, because I haven't even written him down. He could do something. He is certainly learning from the best.

    But he had better get a hurry on, because there are a whole bunch of players learning from Djoker and Nadal, and from Federer, of course.

  • Comment number 34.

    Ugh i'm so bored of people Murray-bashing, and even more fed up of the 'we're terrible at tennis' argument.

    If you look at this compared to other sports - let's take Football for example, James Ward is ranked roughly 100th in the world. The 100th best footballer in the world is probably above the Scott Parker level, maybe a Juan Mata or a Arteta. Either way they would be on 40,00 a week and considered a fantastic player.

    Ward, however, gets stick for being average, despite the fact that he probably gets less than 50,000 a year for all his efforts. Which is not much considering he'll have to retire when he's thirty ish.

    Also we have four women almost in the top 100. In the world. Considering our ratio of people to other countries I am extremely proud of their effort.

    When players make it to the third round at wimbledon - only 32 players can achieve that per year - that is also extraordinary. I am proud of our tennis at the moment - we do need to get some more Men around that 100 mark - but we should not expect an Andy Murray or Tim Henman just to fall off the production line. Look at the Aussies at the moment - or even look at USA - over 50 times bigger with fat resources and they don't have a future world class beater.

    Well done Brits and as usual I'll be following throughout the year, not judging on one tournament like many 'tennis fans'.

  • Comment number 35.

    Andy played well but was well beaten. Had a bit of luck to win the 1st set as it was Fed who lost it with the wayward shot for deuce. Andy could win a slam with luck on his side if the top 3 dip in form or have injuries and he stays fit. The top 3 are players who have found the 'killer' instinct in themselves to win under pressure.

    One more thing, i love the womes game but they are no where worth it to earn the same prize mone as any of their male conteparts. The mens game is so much more competitive, entertaining, emotional, and worthwhile, and they deserve to earn more by all accounts. It is only fair that all slams & master series revert to doing what is fair and true o the players and fans

  • Comment number 36.

    @30 - it's a fencing sword. Likely to be next heard of in London in a few weeks' time!

  • Comment number 37.

    I wouldn't get too excited about having four women in the top 100 in the world. Although it is accepted that to reach the top ten you need to be extremely good, it is also well known that to reach the top 100 you just need good sponsors.

    Tennis is not exactly "pay to play", but there is no question that it is closed to those who are not financially supported in the quest for greatness. It is business, and an entertainment spectacle.

    It is not a measure of individual worth, and most especially not a measure of nations relative to one another. No professional sport is.

  • Comment number 38.

    I thought Tony Hawk's comments on today's Breakfast were spot on. My hubby is a tennis coach and what he thinks of the LTA is unprintable.

    There are still far too many tennis clubs in this country run by old fashioned people who expect members to wear white, don't encourage juniors and make prospective members "play in" in front of the club committee. It is this attitude which the LTA needs to desparately address but it doesn't because it's frightened that these clubs will stop paying their membership.

    My hubby's tennis club is very different. He jokingly says that members wearing white will be banned. The club is open to anyone, of any age, to have a go. Unfortunately his type of club is very rare.

    The LTA needs to wake up and smell the coffee and start really encouraging kids from all backgrounds in the UK to play tennis.

  • Comment number 39.

    @ 24 (woy):
    Do you also really believe Nadal & Djokovic can be tagged as "the greatest ever", alongside greats like Federer, Sampras, Lendl, McEnroe, Borg, Lever etc??? Maybe in 5 - 8 years or so when we can see how many GS titles they have achieved.....

    ----------------------------------

    Please tell me your comment about Nadal being among the 'greatest ever alongside greats like Federer, Sampras, Lendl, McEnroe, Borg, Lever etc' was just to annoy people. If not,

    1st: Federer (17)
    2nd: Sampras (14)
    Joint 4th: Borg, Laver, NADAL (11)
    8th: Lendl (8)
    Joint 13th: McEnroe (7)

    Statistics-wise, such a comment should really have been checked before posting. Tennis-wise, do not forget that Federer and Nadal are still active.

  • Comment number 40.

    Excellent championships, right man won!

  • Comment number 41.

    A lot of you are commenting that Murry will win a 'Grand Slam' one day. Isn't a 'grand slam' winning all four majors in one year, something very, very few players manage? I very much doubt he'll ever win a 'grand slam'. I can see him winning one or more events, especially when his rivals retire.

    He is the second man to be a 'career grand slam loser' having not lost all four major finals :p

  • Comment number 42.

    41 Actually Wimbledon is a Grand Slam event, winning the lot means you have achieved the 'GRAND SLAM', but there are 4 Grand Slam events per season.

    Also career Grand Slam loser is knot technically correct either, he has lot 2 Aus Finals, 1 Wimbledon & 1 US Open, a career Grand Slam of loses would be the FO as well. (I think Federer may be a Grand Slam loser in that context)

  • Comment number 43.

    Roger Federer was as sublime as ever and fully deserved his win and remains the greatest player in the 21st century....the greatest of all time I have more difficulty with as I have already stated Rod Laver won TWO Grand Slams in 1962 and 1969 winning all FOUR tornaments in those years and his 11 titles referred to above are only based on his wins in 1961,62,68 and 69 as he was not allowed to participate from 1963 to 1967 inclusive as he was a professional and the Slams were only open to amateurs then...otherwise just imagine how many more he would have won also !!

    NO-ONE since has ever won all four Grand Slams in the same year once let alone twice and I doubt if anyone ever will in our lifetime !!

  • Comment number 44.

    No matter how much i try to like Murray (honestly i do try) it's just too hard.

    He's still a charcterless dour miserable man who hunches his shoulders and pretends he's exhausted the very second he goes behind in a match.

    No personality off the court (the cringy teary interview doesn't change the fact we've had 5 years of torturously bad and abrasive interviews) and no personality on it.

    Come on Ward, Golding, Watson etc. Need someone i can actually get behind.

    Oh and The Fed is truly great to watch. So much more entertaining than the snooze fest of Djokovic and Nadal going back and forth till one of them nets.

  • Comment number 45.

    tournaments even !!!

  • Comment number 46.

    The Wimbledon semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer was eagerly anticipated as it pitted "two of the game's greatest ever players", according to many writers and pundits. I have one request - that all sports journalists stop calling Novak one of the game's greatest players because, quite simply, he isn't there yet. He's won less than half the total number of Slams that Rafa Nadal has, and under a third of Roger Federer's haul. He is undoubtedly the best player over the last 1.5 years, but at the end of the day Rafa and Roger have not only won more, but set more milestones than him. Roger owns Wimbledon the way Rafa owns the French Open - what does Novak own? Plus, he still hasn't won all four Slams.

    This is not a criticism of Novak, but a plea to set things in perspective before anointing such superlatives on an athlete. When Rafa beat Novak in Paris, there were some who said the rain break saved Rafa, and that Novak would have gone on to win had the match continued on the same day. When Roger beat Novak a few days ago, some said Novak was off-colour and not in top form. I say, give credit where it is due. Rafa and Roger have earned their status as the game's greats by winning top honours consistently over many years. Novak can only be judged further down the road.

    Two final thoughts:
    - Wonderful that finesse still has a place in today's game.
    - Andy Murray is a great guy and has too much talent to not win a Slam. His time will surely come.

  • Comment number 47.

    Andy Murray is better than Tim Henman was when comparing both players at their best and if Murray had been around in Henman's era he may well have won a Slam by now.....HOWEVER..he has had 3 GREAT players to contend with and I include Novak Djokovic in that even if he remains behind Federer and Nadal in the pecking order....but as long as all three remain fit and well and are playing...then,sadly, I can not see Andy winning ANY Slams and making the Finals will be his best-case scenario !!

    Does anyone really believe he would beat any of the "Big Three" in any Slam Final currently ?

    I certainly don't !!

  • Comment number 48.

    It was an excellent tournament full of surprise results, changeable weather and some joyous tennis. I cannot watch the women's game any more because of that appalling grunting that seems to be fashionable at the moment. Note to all the ladies, making those embarrassing noises DOES NOT make you hit the ball harder! But the men's game is as strong and entertaining as it has ever been. Federer is a deserving champion and probably now the greatest ever.

    I must be in the minority because I find it hard to congratulate Andy Murray. I am so fed up of the whole 'praise the British sportsman, they tried hard but ultimately weren't good enough...'. In the first two sets, he had Federer on the ropes but couldn't land the killer blow. Great champions show no remorse to their opponent, they turn the screw when things are going their way. It is usually a natural instinct and Murray, for all his talent, does not seem to have that ability.

    People say they are certain that Andy Murray will win a grand slam but I am not entirely confident. Nadal and Djokovic will be around for his whole career and unless he can nurture that self-belief and utter ruthlessness, he will find it hard to win any of the grand slams.

    Hats off to Federer, he is an artist on the tennis court. That forehand is a thing of beauty. But that said, Murray should have mixed up his tactics more, he should have varied the direction of his serve and he should have kept the great Swiss champion guessing.

    Wimbledon is probably too big for Murray to win. The pressure on him is insane. He has a better chance of lifting the Australian or US open and I truly hope he achieves that goal.

  • Comment number 49.

    @43 SupremeArkle.

    I'm not saying Laver wasn't a great player, but I think a little more context is needed. Dominating in such a way either means he was really, really, good or there wasn't much of an opposition (before my time, I've no idea).

    Also, regarding his Grand Slams - in those days weren't three of the four Slams on grass so he didn't have to win on so many different surfaces as current players? Which is why today's players don't even get career Grand Slams as invariably they can't win on hard and grass and clay (Sampras never won the French for example).

  • Comment number 50.

    Just ask the likes of John McEnroe and Pat Cash how great Rod Laver was ??

    That is why he was sat in the Royal Box for the Final again this year.....one TRUE GREAT observing another TRUE GREAT....and they remain the best two for the majority of the purists !!

    As for @48 comments about Murray having Federer on the ropes...I'm not sure what game he was watching...Federer made 21 unforced errors in the first 2 sest compared to Murray's 5 and he was basically losing points he normally wouldn't and it was only a matter of time before his shots went in instead of out or into the net !

    Sheer quality of the highest order !

  • Comment number 51.

    This was a strange Wimbledon on the men's side. In the first week, we saw some astonishing upsets and drama. In the second, we really didn't. Only one men's match went the distance (Youzhny-Istomin, for those keeping count), and it seemed the a large number of the players who made it to the last 16 saw their form drop off, rather than pick up.

    Federer was undeniably the best player over the fortnight, and Murray played some really brilliant stuff too. The win over Ferrer was top quality. And only the most obtuse would continue to deny he has the abilities to win a Slam, until the roof was closed, he was a match for Federer. Is there a greater complement to pay him?

    One other piece of very good news which slipped out during the tournament was the confirmation that they looking seriously at moving Wimbledon a week later in the calendar. The extra week separation from the French will make a world of difference for players planning their season, and should ensure there's even more great tennis on view in future.

  • Comment number 52.

    @51 I am not obtuse in making my comments about Murray being unable to WIN any Slams whilst the Big Three are around ,and fit and well !!

    Don't kid yourself that the roof closure was the only reason that Federer beat Murray !

    Do you really believe that Murray would have won otherwise ??

  • Comment number 53.

    Saddest part is that when Bradley Wiggins wins the Tour De France, the most difficult sporting challenge in the world, a four times loser will beat him at the BBC Sports Personality Awards, because he can cry !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    Anyone know who won the men's final ?

    I know Andy Murray lost, and broke down in tears afterwards, and the whole nation now loves him because he showed his 'softer' side for the first time, despite having broken down in tears after his previous three GS final defeats, but they don't count because they weren't Wimbledon. And I know the people in his home town are really proud of him, as are the fans who went to see him on centre court, and the man who delivers his milk, and his local butcher, and a cat, but I'm really struggling to find out who he played in the final ... checked digi-text on the TV ... Murray beaten in final ... Murray vows to win next time ... Murray upbeat for the future ... Murray likes cheese and onion crisps ... Murray buys some new socks ... hey, there's something here about a Brit guy winning the doubles title ... nope nothing there either.

    ???

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 24 yep i do believe andy murray is better than roddick and hewitt in their prime, why because the game has evolved, and andy murray has all the tools, where as roddick never did have a backhand, or drop shots he had the solid serve and excellent forehand. Hewitt murray culd be arguable as hewitt did have a good backhand but nothing special about the forehand.

    "Do you also really believe Nadal & Djokovic can be tagged as "the greatest ever",

    Yep I do, take nothing away from federer, but I think federer got lucky to win 17 grand slams, lets be honest when he was dominating from 2003, 04, 05, 06, 07, who did he that was good enough to beat him, no one, if your bening truthful no one, it was around 2008, where djokovic emerged, nadal was young, its now that his facing tough competition because djokovic looks unbeatable, nadal is always there, and murray always has a chance in wimbledon us open and us open. For djokovic to win slams are harder as he has 2 of the greats federer and nadal and a tag along murray who gave djokovic problems at the austrlian open.

    Winning slams are harder when federer was wining back in 2003.

    @ 24 if you dont consider nadal a goat, your just kidding yourself, already a 11 gs holder, a olympic gold medalist, 2 davis cup winner, 22 masters, a career grand slam at the age of 25, and for djokovic he will many more, but i already consider him one of the greats, its so hard to beat him, federer got smashed in the french open losing in three sets, djokovic already has 5 slams he will win at leats 3 more, and has already won 11 masters, and a atp tour and davis cup.

  • Comment number 56.

    @52 It wasn't directed at you, but I do like the way you've carved out an excuse in case Andy Murray does win a Slam - it will be because the other three are not fully fit.

    Anyway, I only wrote that Murray has the ability to win a Slam (I was thinking too about the Australian Open this year), and apparently it is a view shared by Roger Federer and Andre Agassi among others. So yup, there's their views against yours, but good luck with the jury of public opinion!

    Ps. I never said Murray would have won - the point, I think pretty very obvious, is that while the roof was open, it was a closer contest.

  • Comment number 57.

    Not a bad event at all.

    Unfortunately for Murray, he now knows what horror awaits a Wimbledon finalist-interview with Sue Barker!!

    If he wants to learn anything about how to win a Grand Slam Final-take a look at Serena Williams this time. Suddenly lost a 2nd set after winning the first & a younger opponent is now on the up against her.

    And where did Serena go from there as she sat down after the 2nd set-straight on to win the final set 6-2;and Murray went straight downhill from his 2nd set loss, instead of thinking I STILL only need 2 good sets to win instead of 3 when I started.

    That is what makes champions-just look at Goran Ivanisevic's win here-twice pegged back by Pat Rafter & still somehow won the final set.

    Defo improvement on Timmy Tittlemouse,though!

  • Comment number 58.

    @50 SupremeArkle

    Sorry, you don't think Federer making 21 unforced errors in the first two sets means he was struggling?!?! Whether or not Murray's tactics were causing it is irrelevant! Murray kept getting the ball back and Federer was missing almost every passing shot. Murray was wearing the guy down and Federer eventually had to shorten the points just to gain any sustained success.

    The point I was making which you totally missed and has largely gone unnoticed is that a Nadal or Djokovic would have destroyed Federer in this game. He wouldn't have been allowed to recover from his slow and poor start. Murray was far too passive, he allowed his serving level to drop and he didn't take advantage.

    As good as Federer was, he started pretty appallingly and Murray either couldn't take advantage or isn't ruthless enough to do that. You said Federer was 'sheer quality' but he only finished that way. Just imagine starting like that against Djokovic. The match would have been over in an hour and a half. Federer wouldn't have been allowed to play his way into form as Murray allowed him to.

  • Comment number 59.

    I'm not going to lie - I'm not the biggest Murray fan, but that said I had a lot of respect and admiration for him out there yesterday. He lost to the player who is 'at present' the GOAT. I say 'at present' because during the match yesterday, I know all over the country Tim Henman was getting terrorised purely because he never reached a final. But if we got back to his playing days - didn't he lose in the semi finals at SW19 3 or 4 times to Pete Sampras, who at the time was the greatest ever? And if we take the time when Pete Sampras was beat by some 'random' up and coming player called Roger Federer, who then lost to Tim Henman in the QF, but then Tim lost to Goran Ivanesevic in 5 sets because play had to be stopped for a whole day - surely if there was a roof back then on centre court, Tim Henman would have won that Wimbledon?!?

    My point is - regardless of situations/the weather/different eras etc, you can only beat who is in front of you. And if Andy M can't beat RF, RN, or Djok consistently in the Slams, then he isn't going to win one until at least 2 of them retire. But even then the resurgence of David Ferrer, ever presence of JMDP and Tsonga, as well as the emergence of Bernard Tomic, Grigor Dimitrov and Ryan Harrison (soon) will soon be challenging him.

    NB: Despite Rafa having a shocking tournament, I still think if he had met RFed in the final, Rafa would have won. Roger hasn't beaten him in a grand slam since 2007 (corrrect me if i'm wrong) When it comes to slams, Rafa is his Kryptonite!

  • Comment number 60.

    @54.... Brilliant....and I was am member of Six Of One ..The Prisoner aprreciation society....too !

    Yes indeed ROGER FEDERER won !!!!

    @56 ... Nonsense.....YOU said that Murray had Federer on the ropes for the first two sets !!

    Either retract that or just state you got carried away with your choice of wording there !!

    Stop getting carried away with the usual Murray euphoria..and OBVIOUSLY he can win if the other three are not fit and well as they won't even turn up for any Slam unless they feel they can do themselves justice !

    They ARE professional..after all....and do you really think they need the money any more ??

  • Comment number 61.

    Despite there being 3 great players ahead of him Murray will one day win a grand slam major imo.
    He's already looking like he's benefiting from the coaching of Ivan Lendl and it's whether he can get that killer instinct that will be the key. Against Djokovic last year in the first set of the Australian open final Murray was outplaying Djok and Djok was looking frustrated and miserable but Murray let him have a chance and he paid for it.
    Against Federer yesterday Murray was looking the only likely winner in the 2nd set as proven by the average service game times of both players. Fed was looking miserable, moody and frustrated until Murray gave fed a chance to mug him. After that Fed played unbelievable tennis and Murray lost belief. Simple as.
    For anyone to say that Murray is over-rated and their are better players ranked below is utter tosh. He consistently makes grand slam semi-finals, in fact nearly every one and I can't think of any-one ranked below him that does that.

  • Comment number 62.

    @58...Wrong......Federer has blips in his game but there is ALWAYS enough time to turn it around where FIVE sets are concerned...he beat Novak in the Semi's fair and square and has beaten Nadal countless times before too,despite dropping the first set....REMEMBER...it is the best of five sets every time !!

  • Comment number 63.

    @61 the only reason Fed was looking frustrated was with his own play for making 21 unforced errors and missing the kind of shots which were bread and butter to him normally...he had enough time to put that right,however, and did so in no uncertain fashion !

    Murray NEVER looked the likely winner as the match is the best of five sets..please comprehend this !!

  • Comment number 64.

    Murray was brilliant yesterday but he lost to the greatest player ever to pick up a racket . Federer is up there with the greatest sportsmen/women who have ever lived in any sport its no shame to lose to someone that good

  • Comment number 65.

    Britain loves losers and if they cry so much the better!! I'm not having a go at Murray per se but look at the likes of Gazza who never won anything and you'll see what I mean. I'd love to have seen page fulls of comments slamming Murray as an ungratious winner than headlines about him being taken to a nation's heart for blubbing. To be honest I'm sick of losing and I wish more British sports people thought the same.

  • Comment number 66.

    "@56 ... Nonsense.....YOU said that Murray had Federer on the ropes for the first two sets !!"

    You sure about that?

    Maybe you should reread what I wrote and ignore those voices in your head.

  • Comment number 67.

    sorry @66...my comment about "the ropes" should have been directed to @58 !!

    Though you seem to be under a similar impression as him , anyway !

    Murray was NEVER going to beat Federer yesterday....roof or no roof as Federer was NEVER going to let the opportunity of a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title pass him by..and don't rule out an EIGHT win in the event before he retires, either !!

  • Comment number 68.

    EIGHTH even !!

  • Comment number 69.

    The_Legend_That_Is_Emile_Heskey @various

    The username suggests you understand irony or at least have a sense of humour.

    Your comments suggest otherwise.

  • Comment number 70.

    SupremeArkle

    You are completely missing the point I am making. Federer has lost many matches to Nadal and Djokovic having started poorly so your point that Federer has won lots of matches against these players over 5 sets is moot. Its about the form of that particular day.

    Lets try again. Federer started horribly yesterday and a top player would have taken the game out of his reach while it was going badly. Murray didn't do that. Federer only had the chance to find the stunning shots and form because Murray didn't put him to the sword. THAT IS THE POINT I'M MAKING.

    No one is disputing Federer is a genius, an artist with a racket, the best of all time. Its just that yesterday, Murray could and should have gone for the jugular when the Swiss was down. A Sampras or a Nadal would have buried Federer in that match yesterday before he got going.

    Murray deserves credit for the way he played but this was a huge chance that he has let slip past.

  • Comment number 71.

    @64..agreed...no shame in losing to one of the two greatest mens tennis players I have ever seen....Rod Laver was before your ,time assumedly ?

    Both of them are up in their amongst all Sports in general for their tremendous achievements in the game !

  • Comment number 72.

    @70 What are you taling about ??

    You really are getting carried away if you think that Federer losing the first set means he is down and out against whoever he is playing !!

    You really need to look at the "bigger picture" and understand they are ALL playing the best of five sets out there and Federer NEVER gives up no matter who he is playing !

    Stop trying to belittle his true greatness !!

    E.O.S

  • Comment number 73.

    talking not taling !!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    65. We have a multitide of sporting winners - I won't bother listing them all here, do some research.
    Unfortunately, it seems that many people are of the opinion (largely driven by the idiotic tabloid media) that unless we are dominant across the board (almost impossible for any country let alone a medium sized one such as GB) that we are somehow a sporting failure as a nation. Simply not true and few countries are currently better.
    It also doesn't mean we cannot praise somebody who gives their all and just misses out. That isn't 'loving losers', it is just recognising somebody who tries their utmost and falls short.

  • Comment number 75.

    well said @74 and no-one can argue about that either !

  • Comment number 76.

    @63 Sorry I think I comprehend that the men's game is best of 5 sets.
    As you say Federer was making an incredible number of uncharacteristic unforced errors in the first 2 sets and that's why whilst I was watching the game I was thinking that if Murray kept up the pressure he DID look the likely winner as he would have been 2 sets up. Murray was threatening Federer's serve constantly in set 2 as proven by the average time of over 4.5 minutes per service game compared to Murray's 3.5 minutes per service game. Federer would have been under enormous pressure to win 3 in a row. Not saying he would never have been able to but it would have been incredibly tough.

  • Comment number 77.

    @72

    What part of me saying Federer is a genius and probably the best of all time is belittling the man?!

    Federer was poor for the first two sets yesterday, not just the first. But Murray was unable to take advantage. I've seen Nadal and Djokovic dismantle Federer when he hasn't been playing well. Murray let him off the hook, genius or not.

    I'm not debating Federer, the mans record speaks for itself. This is about Murray not being ruthless enough and not being able to keep an opponent down.

    Murray would have had a great chance if he had been more aggressive yesterday, particularly in the second set. I lost count of the number of times he played a soft, mid-court ball to Federer's forehand. Suicide against the Swiss and everyone knows that.

    Federer is a deserving winner but even you cannot deny that he was there for the taking early on. YOU pointed out the stat of Rodger making 21 unforced errors in the first two sets. Murray simply didn't take advantage.....

  • Comment number 78.

    The Year of Beauty and the Beast
    I'm referring to the men's versus the women's final winner. Federer's style of play, his talent and determination, is matched with tact and genuine personable likeability. He just must also be a great dancer. And he's the kind of person that you'd love to have over for dinner, with his family.
    Serena, yes, she won. And she won big. Her serve, her ground strokes, it has something fierce. But during the match, you'd easily go and fetch a drink, linger in the kitchen, do a bit channel zipping, because it's just not much fun to watch. And you really don't want to feel for her. In the end, I'd hope for someone to finally come along, match the serve, the power, but somehow add a lot of gracefulness to movement and personality.
    So the men's final was a beauty, the women's final was a beast. Going into the latter with more detail probably isn't a beautiful thing to do.

  • Comment number 79.

    @78 People who denigrate Serena's achievements are a disgrace. She is an asset to the game and will be sorely missed. You say you don't want to feel for her, that says more about you than it does about her. You've never seen her play out a match with tears in her eyes hobbling on one good leg? Do you even take a minute to consider she played two doubles matches in one day before dispatching Azarenka the world #1? She also played and won the doubles final on the same day as her singles final vs Radwanska. "Haters gonna hate" is a simplistic cliche but seems it will sound true as long as people love to hate winners. Serena is a winner and in any other era (in peak condition) she would destroy any woman (be it Court, Navratilova, Graf) so JMac is right in saying she could be the greatest ever. Could have been.

    Federer is the greatest athlete I will see in my lifetime, I know this already and I don't mind because I've been privileged to be interested in the sport and see the handing over of the sceptre from Pete to Roger. One slightly introvert but audaciuosly gifted, the other seemingly good at everything (multi-language pressers that never seem to bother him) and generous almost to the point of shaming his peers. The records Roger holds are a myriad, maybe the ones never likely to be equaled are the two streaks of consecutive GS finals (10 and 8 while Nadal's best was 5) and the consecutive GS semifinals (23) but the number 17 says it all. He won at least one GS in 9 straight years and when everyone thoguht he was done he came back and did it with style.

  • Comment number 80.

    @77 We are going round in circles here....of course Murray took advantage of the 21 unforced errors by Federer in the first two sets which is why Murray win the first set in the first place and had a fighting chance of winning the second set too....HOWEVER Federer never hit the panic button and just carried on playing and corrected his earlier errors in good time making sure the ball remained in play and eventually wearing his opponent down in his usual manner by playing winning shots when it mattered most !

    And there we have it.....the great Federer wins by three sets to one......... whilst Andy Murray will be replace Bunny Austin as being remembered as the last British player to make a Wimbledon Men's Final !

    I wonder what year it will be when we next have a British player in the Final...can Murray get there again...bearing in mind he will probably meet Fed in the Semis next year if Fed is seeded at number 1 and Murray at number 4 ?

  • Comment number 81.

    will replace !!!

  • Comment number 82.

    As far as the Ladies Singles is concerned...never mind the Williams sisters who have dominated for so long...what price the Federer twin sisters playing each other in Grand Slam tournament finals in circa 18-20 years time ?

    Any odds available currently ?

  • Comment number 83.

    I appreciate that Federer is considered by many as the best of all time due to his general game and large collection of winners medals but would he have had the same volume without the changes to the Wimbledon surface around 2000? Genuine question as I'm not sure I see too many players who are great at serve and volley.

  • Comment number 84.

    @83 considering his movement in his early years, and his serve he would have been at 10+ Wimbledons with those conditions.

  • Comment number 85.

    The Fed is certainly the greatest serve and volley player since Laver and reminds me of him in many ways with his sheer grace and nonchalance as he moves around the court !

    I have always got far more pleasure out of watching those guys than the bang bang boom boom players who merely rely on torpedo serves and relentless baseline groundstrokes with little variety to their play !!

  • Comment number 86.

    The likes of Emerson,McEnroe,Borg and Becker were great serve and volley players also !

  • Comment number 87.

    I am extremely disappointed that you have given so little coverage to the British Wimbledon Champion. Let me repeat that word CHAMPION. Jonathan Marray.
    Today we can even watch a re-run of the British looser in 3D. Does the BBC plan to have the grace to give credit where credit is due. Offer an interview or repeat the effort of our CHAMPION.

  • Comment number 88.

    To those people who say: "Even Federer says Murray will one day win a grand slam" - Federer doesn't just come out and say Murray will win a slam, he gets asked by interviewers. How do you think Federer, or even Nadal and Djokovic for that matter, would look if they said "No, Murray will never win a slam."? They're just being media friendly, whichnthey have to do. Let's face facts, the top three are so far ahead of the rest of the field, it's embarrassing.

  • Comment number 89.

    well said @87....a Sheffield fella Champion... a la Sebastian Coe mould....unlike Coe who surprisingly has always supported Chelsea,I hope he is a Wednesday fan,just as I have been all my life...even though I have always lived in West London !

    Strange but true !

  • Comment number 90.

    @83

    I would suggest that without the change in conditions he would have won 10 or more Wimbledon titles. The general slowing down of all the surfaces has aided the rise of Nadal and Djokovic and hindered Federer who is by far the best player on faster surfaces.

    @55

    Lucky to win 17? I think that's pushing it ever so slightly. Federer was at his peak in those years, playing tennis the like of which has never been seen before or since, and I don't think even Nadal or Djokovic would have had much of a chance even at their respective peaks. As mentioned above, the changing conditions have helped them and hindered Federer. Therefore, you could argue that they have been lucky in that respect and lucky also to be five years younger than Federer. Neither of the other two can even begin to compete with Federer's GS consistency and never will. They are both outstanding players in their own right and will no doubt win more GS titles but they are at the moment still a long way from the standards set by Federer.

    As for the GOAT argument, I'm not sure it's anything more than an interesting pub debate but Federe is the best I've ever seen but my experience only goes back as far as the early 80s. I would suggest that Nadal is the greatest clay court player ever but unlikely to be the greatest player ever overall as his achievements off clay, whilst still magnificent, pale compared to those of others.

  • Comment number 91.

    good comments @90 and ,assumedly, you would agree with me that Murray is the best British player you have ever seen ..and I am not saying that just because you are Scottish...I genuinely believe he deserves his status above Tim Henman !

    Anyone think differently ?

  • Comment number 92.

    @91 you're gonna need some tech savvy WWI survivor to argue against that! :)

  • Comment number 93.

    Indeed @92...well Murray has to be the best since Fred Perry anyway !!

    I wonder if they can organise a computerised game between the pair and see who wins......obviously Murray is far bigger and stronger than Perry was and uses a racquet which makes Perry's look like a small chip-pan !!

  • Comment number 94.

    #87

    That's HALF a British title, please-Nielsen is a Dane!

    And Murray's coach isn't British, either, so whether or not foreign assistance always pays off is another matter.

    I also suspect Federer is enough of a gentleman not to diss any opponent publicly even if he felt the exact opposite to what he said. But why should I try starting to read something into every pronouncement that isn't there, like the stupid journos here and elsewhere?

    What Murray has to learn is that it's never over until the fat lady sings & if he takes that attitude into every match he plays, regardless of whom he is playing and whether it's 2-0,1-1 or 0-2 after 2 sets, yes he can win a Slam. But I'm still not convinced he carries that attitude into matches where he is up against a superior opponent on paper, or possibly doesn't carry it right through such matches.

    Even if he did, no guarantees he'd be a Grand Slam winner. But it would as sure as Hell increase his chances of doing so.

    And, if you want to talk about the greatest ever, look no further than Pancho Gonzales-the ONLY player I actually did cross the street to see play! Had Tennis been open throughout his career (1947-1974), how many GS's might he have won? At least 25 is my guess.

  • Comment number 95.

    Pancho was a great too and I still have my original Pancho Gonzales Spalding racquet which I used to win my local Under 18's boys tournament two years running in the early 70s !

    I woud still place Rod Laver above him,however...and the Fed too...in my humble opinion ...and endorsed by JP McEnroe I am sure !

  • Comment number 96.

    "would" not "woud".... or "wood" for that matter...just like the racquet !!

  • Comment number 97.

    @95 I hope you're not trying to drag me into another Laver is GOAT discussion :)
    I wish we could see more footage of Pancho, Rod and Ken playing. Big Bill too. Those times were probably just as exciting for the tennis nation as today.

  • Comment number 98.

    #95 & 97

    I should also have mentioned(though before my time-I was born 1952) Fred Perry.

    Yes, a Brit who won ALL four Grand Slam Finals, though not in one year like Rod Laver. 8 wins in 10 finals and the son of a milkman, so God knows how he was ever allowed to play in those days, though that does explain why he left the game so quickly. That's definitely the greatest British player ever, though.

    Goats are good for a lot of things, but don't let them near Centre Court or the blazers will be after you!

  • Comment number 99.

    @98 What some might not know is that Perry was quite the chracter, a tennis james dean. He was unfortunate not to achieve more in his career, same can be said of too many tennis players sadly (Rios comes to mind).

  • Comment number 100.

    Indeed great memories @97..though Laver was my boyhood hero and I tried to model my play on his, albeit at a far inferior level...just loved his serve and volley and overhead smash technique, and it was like a game of chess, slowly but surely, manouvering his opponent into the corner of the court and waiting at the net for the return which he inevitably punished like the headmaster he was !!

 

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