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Murray's Wimbledon final defeat only the beginning

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David Bond | 09:27 UK time, Monday, 9 July 2012

At Wimbledon

Andy Murray may not have won Wimbledon but his raw, tearful display at the end of his defeat by Roger Federer might turn out to be a breakthrough of another sort.

Admired rather than loved, there were times during yesterday's final when support for Murray on Centre Court seemed muted. Rightly or wrongly, he has a dour image which fails to reflect how much it all means for him.

Choked and unable to speak at the end of the match, that impression has changed now - possibly forever. This felt like the moment when sceptical "middle England", used to the more polite, familiar tones of Tim Henman, finally took the 25-year-old to their heart.

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Whether any of that really matters is clearly up for debate. Do we need to like our sporting heroes? Surely as long as they win, that's all that matters.

But his progress over the last fortnight - both on the court and off it - must give the public confidence that when the 77th year without a men's winner comes around next June, Britain has a player of which it can be proud.

Let us not forget this was fourth Grand Slam final. And it is his misfortune that he is playing in such a golden era for men's tennis.

Rafael Nadal's shock exit early in the tournament only removed one of the three towering obstacles that regularly block his path to glory. If the Spaniard isn't there, then it is Novak Djokovic or Federer.

And to think the 30-year-old Swiss was supposed to be winding down. He was at his imperious best both against Murray and Djokovic in his semi-final on Friday. He has now equalled Pete Sampras's seven Wimbledon singles titles, has won 17 Grand Slams and is back as the world number one. Murray is good but in the final he was playing the best.

As Andre Agassi said last week, had Murray been playing a decade ago, it is certain he would have won a major title. Federer himself tried to console Murray after the tears had finally dried up with the thought that at least one Grand Slam will come for him - eventually.

Murray can also console himself with the fact that he has laid to rest one of British sport's biggest ghosts here. By reaching the final he has done something no British man has done since Bunny Austin in 1938.

In a British sporting summer like no other (and not just because of the weather) it would have been too neat, too convenient for Murray to banish the longest-standing record of which British sport is least proud.

But Murray's defeat on Centre Court did not feel like the end of his extraordinary story - it felt more like the start of something new.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Murray certainly proved he deserves the number four place in the ranking list, comfortably beating numbers five and six on the way to the final. And yes, the crying did make me like him more than I used to. :)

    Will he win a grand slam? I have the feeling this was the best chance he'll get for a while, but you never know...

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    It was a great effort from Murray, really thought he might actually do it. A couple of sensational points at 6-5 in the second and 2 sets of sublime tennis from Federer - no shame losing to one of the greatest of all time.

    I always thought Murray's best chance at the big one was the US open anyway - its where he won his Junior title - where he got to his first final - so no need to worry just yet, he'll get one eventually!!

  • Comment number 5.

    #1: The_Legend_That_Is_Emile_Heskey :

    Allow me to state categorically, that you are a complete and total fool! Imagine you rushung to be first in line to write this drivel. What a small and insignificant life you must lead. Pathetic!

  • Comment number 6.

    5.
    At 14:54 9th Jul 2012, Saltireblue wrote:

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

    My thoughts exactly. It's virtually the same drivel posted on every Murray-related blog recently that I've skimmed through. Someone's feeling a little needy.

    The final yesterday represented an improvement in Murray's mentality and level of play from GS Finals in the past, and he'll likely still have to beat at least one of the top 3 in GS's for a couple of years yet if he's to finally win his first Grand Slam. I've no doubt, after seeing yesterday performance, that he will eventually prevail.

    That being said, Andy played well, without being spectacular for the 1st two sets: a high percentage of 1st serves in; aggression when required on the groundstrokes; and stingy with the unforced error count. He was still slightly suspect on the 2nd serve. Federer couldn't couldn't capitalize on when given an opportunity to attack it, and Murray kept his nose in front for the best part of an hour and a half.

    A combination of a piece of brilliance from Federer to break Murray's resolve and serve at the end of the 2nd set; the roof closure; and a momentum shift from the end of the 2nd set proved to be fatal to Murray's chances of winning this one.

    As a result, his level of play dropped slightly, 1st serve percentage dipped, and Federer simply stopped shanking Backhands and making avoidable unforced errors. He started making more use of the Murray 2nd serve to manoeuvre himself into more favorable positions on the court. Andy's head dropped at the start of the 4th, and he was virtually done for, even though the match could have still been forced into a decider, had he managed to hold his serve and at least force a breaker.

  • Comment number 7.

    Tremondous achivement for Murray to have reached the final, however this may sound harsh but he was not good enough yesterday. There is no point is making excuses such as players like Federer are around or had he been playing 10 years ago he would have won Wimbledon!

  • Comment number 8.

    He still has plenty of chances to win Wimbledon and the fact that he didn't win it against one of the exponential players of the tennis world isn't something bad.

  • Comment number 9.

    " The_Legend_That_Is_Emile_Heskey " what on earth have you got against Andy Murray? Considered trying to complain about your post but it doesn't directly break the rules, it's just generally offensive and quite daft!

    Why does Murray "truely (sic) deserve" defeat for being "overated" and a "numpty"? I've followed his tennis around the world and he's a dedicated and commited figher, capable of extraordinary tennis, whose been in the top 4 in the world for over 5 years now, in an utterly unprecedented era of men's tennis. He's easily the equivalent of a Hewitt or a Rafter, better than Roddick, Kaefelnikov or even Safin who are grand slam winners and the best thing in British tennis for... well 70 years I'd say. I'm glad other posters are pulling you down and I'd like to add my weight. You obviously don't watch a lot of tennis, and the tennis you do watch you understand even less! It's your right to post drivel. And it's our right to tell you what utterly irrelevant drivel it is. Hope Murray wins the Olympics and your cheers stick in your throat. Come on Andy.

  • Comment number 10.

    Anyone But Murray

    Blog on the attitudes towards Andy Murray and his continued struggle to win a Grand Slam.

    Feel free to comment etc.
    http://stoppagetime120.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Comment number 11.

    i have loved Andy since he was 18 and burst onto the scene :D some people may not like him but who cares! well done Andy you did Scotland proud.

  • Comment number 12.

    I don't know if Andy will ever win a major, but what I am sure of is that someone of his talent would normally win a few. He is undoubtedly a better player than many that have won majors. He's got to be the best player never to win one - I can't think of a better player in the past that failed to win one. He's also better than many players that reached no 1 ranking, including Roddick , Hewitt, Ferrero, Rios, Safin and Moya.

  • Comment number 13.

    Andy Murray can hold his head high and be proud of his effort to try and beat Roger Federer who is arguably the greatest tennis player to have played this game.

    Although, Britain's wait for a Grand Slam champion continues, it wont be too long before we see Murray winning a Grand Slam title. He remains a firm contender to win Grand Slam titles in Australia, USA and Wimbledon, all of which are surfaces that suit his style of game.

    Having said that, I am less sanguine about his French Open chances. I think he is a decent claycourt player but I dont see him winning Roland Garros considering how dominant Nadal has been and will remain on that surface and when it comes to playing on clay, none of the other Spaniards (Ferrer, Almagro, Lopez, Granollers,Verdasco) in the draw can be counted out!

    With the Olympics round the corner, it is certain that Murray will look to fire at all cylinders to bring home that Olympic gold medal for Britain which he described as the 'pinnacle in sport'.

    Good luck for the Olympic games and the rest of the season Andy!

 

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