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Murray loses final but wins British hearts

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Tom Fordyce | 22:11 UK time, Sunday, 8 July 2012

We came to Centre Court expecting history to be made. It was Roger Federer rather than Andy Murray who once again ripped apart the record books, and few who witnessed it will believe it should have been any different.

Murray's brave defeat in the first Wimbledon singles final to feature a British male in 74 years - his fourth painful loss in four Grand Slam finals - came down not to fate or bad luck nor any stage-fright on his behalf.

Federer's win in four sets was instead founded on that most simple logic: the best player playing the better tennis for longer will always ultimately prevail.

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Considered a spent force by some when he crashed out of the last two championships here in the quarter-finals, Federer's seventh Wimbledon crown - and 17th Grand Slam title overall - was won by a combination of conjuror's flair and brilliant, brutal hitting that very few players in the history of the game could match.

Murray, having had four break points for a two-set lead and a shot at sporting immortality, will be haunted by this one for a while. He has never been this close to an elusive major, never played so well early on in a match of this magnitude.

At the end he was bereft, reduced to tears by the realisation that it had all once again slipped away. But while it will be of little comfort to him now, in that moment another rather different battle might finally have been won.

Murray has never completely been taken to heart by the entire British sporting public. All fortnight we heard complaints that he was too taciturn, too muted on court, too short of the charisma and grace that have made Federer the most popular player of his generation.

There are some very simple answers to that: it is none of our business how much of himself he wants the world to see, or how often he smiles when that world is watching.

He is a professional tennis player, aiming simply to win as many matches and majors as he can, and doing a rather better job of it than any other Briton has in recent memory or will do for an age.

When the tears came, however, and the post-match words choked in his throat with half the country watching or listening at home, the young man was at last visible behind the sportsman's tough exterior.

Here he was, revealed in a way few expected: emotional, apologetic, engaging and open for all to see.

It is not the first time Murray has shed tears on court. His five-set defeat to Novak Djokovic at this year's Australian Open ended the same way.

The difference this time was the reaction from the crowd inside Centre Court - sustained applause, collectively placing an empathetic arm around the shoulder - and from those watching at home who had previously never thawed to the Scot's angular charms.

"I never thought the old boy had it in him," as one chastened spectator said wonderingly courtside.

Murray's old coach and friend Miles Maclagan was there as part of BBC 5 live's commentary team. "Andy has almost resisted being liked," he said afterwards. "He has wanted to be liked for winning titles, not for who he is."

After this Wimbledon it may no longer be an either/or, just as Federer is so widely loved for both his unmatched deeds on the court and the way he has done it all.

Early in Sunday's final the wonderfully optimistic thoughts that had sprung from the semi-final defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga seemed gloriously close to becoming reality.

Murray broke Federer in his very first service game and went on to take the set as the old master showed uncharacteristic nerves, shipping 16 unforced errors to his apprentice's five. When Murray had two break points at 4-4 in the second a nation puffed out its cheeks and started to wonder.

But Federer, victorious here in six of his seven previous final appearances, does not wilt so easily. He broke Murray from nowhere to steal away the second set 7-5 and then, with the Briton's first serve dipping below 50% in the critical third, purred through the gears to reach a level that few other players in history have ever touched.

By the end he had hit 62 winners, more than any other player had managed in any other match at this Wimbledon.

For Federer, three long years on from his last SW19 title, this victory was more than just another sparkling campaign medal to pin alongside all the others.

A month short of his 31st birthday he was supposed to be in his tennis dotage, a much-loved figure who could no longer quite cut it in a thrusting world of dashing young blades like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Men don't win Wimbledon singles titles in their 30s. Only Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe have ever managed to do so, and then only once apiece.

Instead, Federer has not only drawn level with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw on the all-time Wimbledon men's singles champions list, but will next week go back to number one in the ATP world rankings.

Dotage? By mid-July Federer will have held top-billing for longer in total than any other player in history. Even for this extraordinary player, it is an extraordinary achievement.

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Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Personally, I had my doubts that Federer still possessed the tools to win a Slam, but he just proved what a class act he still is. Both on and off the court.

    As for Murray, I still hold firm in my belief that he will become a multiple Major winner and that Lendl will be the man to help him make that final step. Well done Andy, a great effort.

  • Comment number 2.

    No point shedding tears Andy, need to get a grip of yourself and push yourself, your not far away just need that bit of luck and quality. Should use this as a stepping stone as the other 3 finals were none events, you can do it.

  • Comment number 3.

    andy needs to use that tearful interview has inspiration he always been in my heart he won me over years aho when he was 18 :)

  • Comment number 4.

    Nice article. I think Agassi won a grand slam at 33. How old was Sampras when he retired after winning the US Open? Regardless, Murray will have to hope a new generation of tennis players of his, and the top 3s, standard isn't coming up behind him. It's tough enough trying to beat Fed, Nadal and Djokovic. I cannot help but think this is a special era in tennis. After Roger, Rafa and Nola retire mens tennis may be in the doldrums for a little while. Just incredible stuff these guys are doing.

  • Comment number 5.

    As mentioned in an earlier blog, this was the best grand slam final that Murray has played. he came out positive, played aggressive and gave everything he had out on court. No one can blame him this time for not trying. Of course, as is the case in slam finals, they were several close games, break-point opportunities, missed shots, and one needs to expect that when players like Fed and Murray are out on court, battling it out there and trying to win. Murray's post-match interview was indeed very emotional, and no one can blame him for that. Fed did it at the AO in 2009, and just shows how much these players care of the game, how much they want to win. If Murray plays like this on a consistent basis throughout a five-set match, he will win a major at least. The problem is of course that fortunately he only had to face one of the big 3 to win one of these things, and unfortunately he couldn't quite do it. Cum New York, Novak and Rafa will be rearing to go as well, and Murray might have to face and beat two of the big 3 to win, and hence it is only going to get tougher for him.

    As for Fed, I would need to find new words to describe this superlative achievement. I was constantly tired and annoyed that my friends, family, and of course the whole media were writing him off, saying he is too old, a spent force, that he can't match up to the likes of Novak and Rafa anymore, that he will never add to his major tally again, but I always believed in him. It wasn't as though the guy was nowhere, like Fed has admitted, he had several tough losses in these past two years, arguably matches, which he might not have lost in his so-called 'prime'. I'm delighted that he proved all his doubters wrong, specially to the likes of John Lloyd, who couldn't even adequately back-up why he thought Murray would win today. For me, it is Fed's greatest achievement till date, to regain the number one ranking for the second time, amidst the dominance of Novak and Rafa, at the age of almost 31. Fabulous display, and like many have said, I think he is playing the tennis of his life right now, even better than his years of dominance from 2004-07. Its just that Novak and Rafa have raised their level, and that's why this victory makes it all the more sweeter for Fed!! Hope he can reproduce this scintillating form and grab the Olympic gold, at his much loved SW19!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Much cause for optimism, despite the loss. On this occasion, Murray played some of his best tennis when it mattered most; the fact that he needs Federer, Nadal and perhaps Djokovic to be operating just a little below optimum capacity to win one of these Grand Slams does not debar one from thinking that the Scot could well win more than one Slam at some point. His record in Melbourne leads me to believe that the Australian Open is the most likely place for him to open his account, but he has a shout for the next few years at three of the four Grand Slams.

    What's particularly encouraging is that Murray's generation don't seem to have any immediate challengers. Pretenders such as Tomic, Harrison, Dumitrov, Raonic and so on do not seem to have the precocious brilliance to suggest that they will be immediate GS threats. A reasonable estimation is that Murray may have as many as 15 realistic shots at GS glory remaining (I deliberately exclude the French Open from these calculations).

    Tom points out that Ashe and Laver are the only 30+ year-olds to have won a major in the Open era. That is in fact only true of Wimbledon - men such as Sampras and Andres Gomez have managed the trick at other Grand Slam events, and if Murray can stay injury-free, it may be that he will have chances even into his own fourth decade.

    As for Federer, words are insufficient. Only Laver, and perhaps Nadal, can now possibly be in the argument when we're discusing the best of all time.

  • Comment number 7.

    Andy, you were fantastic throughout the week. No shame, you will get there and we will all be there supporting you. You are a real credit to Britian and world tennis

  • Comment number 8.

    Agassi won at least one Slam in his 30s right? 2003 was his last, he must have been 32ish!

    Anyway, credit to Andy-not as gifted as Roger but trying his hardest to work out a way to win. 4 Slam loses is hard to take but he has lost to Fed (3) and Nole, hardly the stuff of choke-artists.

    Federer seems 100% re-engaged with the sport, the family commitments must affect any player (especially one who had won so much) yet he still managed to beat Novak in Paris last year & should have got to the final at Flushing Meadow. Still 20 might be realistic, Nadal's knees are flaring up again and Djokovic is going to find it hard to keep his 2011 level going. Federer is the one of the 4 who can take the game to his opponents, the others are great counter-punchers. The effect on the body is much more intense so expect a few more injuries for those guys.

    Some of Federer's shots were sublime, his slice passing shots when Andy attempted to drop-shot him were majestic and his own slice drop-shots were magnificent. The forehand, when on song, is still the number 1 shot in the mens game, the angle and power he can generate is unreal.

    Overall a great effort by both players, Murray has a good shout in New York, he can rival Novak at times so hopefully will avoid Federer's half of the draw in August. Not always his biggest fan but he went up in my estimation, credit to himself and his family, it must be hard to take but he must keep plugging away, if Magnus Norman can win a Slam anyone can.

  • Comment number 9.

    What a wonderfully gifted player is Federer. He made Murray look cack-handed and clumsy so often. That single handed backhand, beautifully fluid and so efficient and effective. Murray with his double-handed backhand looked so pressured compared to Federer who played outstanding aggressive tennis essential at Wimbledon. Murray be more aggressive and learn from Federer...

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Men don't win Grand Slam titles in their 30s. Only Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe have ever managed to do so, and then only once apiece.
    ____________________________________

    Trying not to be critical but quite a few players have won a slam in their 30's. Andre Agassi won 2 Australian Opens in his 30's, Pete Sampras won a US Open and I think Jimmy Connors did too.

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.

    I think most knew how much it means to Andy to win a grand slam, lets hope the tears win over the skeptics but more importantly that he get's the win. Oh and by the way, many others have won grand slams in their 30s so lets not suggest Feds is over the hill yet...
    1 Ken Rosewall 1972 Australian 37y 2m 1d
    2 Ken Rosewall 1971 Australian 36y 2m 12d
    3 Ken Rosewall 1970 US Open 35y 10m 11d
    4 Andres Gimeno 1972 Roland Garros 34y 10m 1d
    5 Ken Rosewall 1968 Roland Garros 33y 7m 7d
    6 Andre Agassi 2003 Australian 32y 8m 28d
    7 Arthur Ashe 1975 Wimbledon 31y 11m 25d
    8 Rod Laver 1969 US Open 31y 1m 0d
    9 Pete Sampras 2002 US Open 31y 0m 27d
    10 Jimmy Connors 1983 US Open 31y 0m 9d
    11 Rod Laver 1969 Wimbledon 30y 10m 26d
    12 Rod Laver 1969 Roland Garros 30y 9m 30d
    13 Andre Agassi 2001 Australian 30y 8m 30d
    14 John Newcombe 1975 Australian 30y 7m 9d
    15 Rod Laver 1969 Australian 30y 5m 18d
    16 Andres Gomez 1990 Roland Garros 30y 3m 14d
    17 Jimmy Connors 1982 US Open 30y 0m 10d
    18 Petr Korda 1998 Australian 30y 0m 9d

  • Comment number 14.

    A watchable final without being vintage fare, sadly neither player played their best tennis at the same time during the match, 4 sets of tennis and arguably these were shared in quality of play but Federer pick pocketed the second which was prob more pivotal then the roof closing, Federer was majestic from there on......
    Can Federer make an 18th slam? His consistency has def dropped over the best of 5 set format and if you make him play enough balls he will miss as the first two sets today illustrated.......but once again his champion qualities came to the fore.......Enjoy him whilst he is still competing !!

  • Comment number 15.

    Also I think 30+ isn't the career killer it once was. Many players are hanging around longer due to increases in sports science and diet. Federer has suffered so few injuries he is probably in as good a shape as Nadal is at 26. For whatever reason the teenage mens players aren't breaking through, I can't remember a generation that has not challenged the top of the game for a long time. Always seemed to be a Nadal, Sampras, Becker, Murray, Novak, Fed etc waiting to break through in their teens. This may help the more established names add to their trophy lists as they enter their 30s.

  • Comment number 16.

    Now will all the Roger haters and Rafa lovers please shut up. Some of the Roger's play today was simply magical - Rafa could never hit those shots or construct points the way Roger does. Roger is the TRUE PURE genius!

  • Comment number 17.

    To all the people citing Agassi & Sampras as winners of Grand Slams late in their careers, you need to realise that these two guys are all-time greats who had already won plenty of slams before their 30s, so to compare them to Murray - who has yet to win a single Slam, is completely missing the point.

    As far as I know, no player that hadn't won a slam by the age of 25 went on to win multiple Grand Slams, so if this is anything to go by, history suggests that Murray most probably won't win multiple Slams - and then you factor in the competition he has for future Slams, mainly Djokovic and Nadal (maybe Del Potro), then the chances of him winning any Grand Slams at all seem pretty slim.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think many in the media have been far too quick to write Federer off. He has been challenging for titles over the past couple of years but has faced Nadal in scintillating form in 2010 and then a dominant Djokovic in 2011.

    He may not be at his imperious best of the mid 00's but because he has generally been able to stay injury free he should have another 2-3 years to challenge for titles. Although much younger you wonder whether because of the way he plays Nadal may succumb to injuries more quickly.

    I still think Murray has a decent chance of winning a major but he will need to hope that one or more of the big three have an off day to do so.

  • Comment number 19.

    Great match. Something that spoils most matches is that players need to towel down after every point despite having to sit down after every two games. Why wear sweatbands if they're not used?
    Also why do they need to inspect 3 or 4 balls before serving? Footballers don't choose which balls to use when it goes off the pitch. Not yet anyway.
    Maybe the players need extended breaks between games and have a lunch break as well.

  • Comment number 20.

    Murray played well today and couldnt have done much more but the truth is that unless something happens to the top 3 he will never win a grand slam...fair play to roger ive always been more of a rafa man but he's a genius never seen anyone play big points better and while he rafa and novak raise their game for the crunch moments murray never has and probably never will however he shouldnt be classed as a failure even if he doesnt win one its all down to the era he's in

  • Comment number 21.

    Wow! Murray got EXPOSED today for the over-rated and average player he really is. The standard between Murray and The Top Three is astronomical. Murray will never have the game, physique or mentality to win Wimbledon. He can forget winning slams full stop! In every single match Andy plays he always looks tired, or in pain or he can't be bothered to be there. He always winces in pain or fatigue in every match he plays. Murray has been in 5 grand slam finals now and only won 1 set. It's not like he was in his first ever grand slam final. Yes it was Wimbledon but it wasn't only Murray's best chance. It was his only chance. It wouldn't matter what era of tennis you play in, you either got it or you haven't and Murray clearly hasn't got it!

  • Comment number 22.

    Murray played a great game against the worlds best. The speech after with the tears, it made me wonder how much energy he did not let go. Around the court physically Murray can do anything the top players can do, so it only leaves the psychological aspect to consider. Murray is no longer a captive of rage against himself or his team thanks to Lendl but he still needs to muster a maniacal determination that Federer showed today. Plenty of time to do it under his brilliant coach.

  • Comment number 23.

    They say form is temporary and class is permanent - and boy oh boy did Roger prove that today. Roger has always been class it's just that his form has not always been there!

  • Comment number 24.

    @ 21 FedererGodOfTennis4Ever

    Murray has actually been in 4 grand slam finals not 5.

  • Comment number 25.

    Andy Murray was playing, by many pundits reckoning, the best player of all time. I was very disappointed for him that he received such half-hearted support from the Wimbledom crowd. Chanting 'Andy, Andy' at 4-5 down in the fourth set against a player who has won Wimbledon 6 times already is too late in the match. Shame on them !

    Now that he has broken down in front of them, Britain takes him to its heart ? Is that what it took ? Shame on them !

    Andy Murray's problem for the Wimbledon crowd is that he is not Tim Henman.

  • Comment number 26.

    I only saw the final two sets and Federer was the far better player, Murray's serve seemed to elude him when so often these past two weeks its been, almost, a rock. Add to that the failure to really punish the handful of gifts Federer sent his way.

    That said, i firmly believe that over the last two weeks Murray was the standout player of this tournament, whose game seemed to have moved on to another level and meant that many watching never doubted he would beat Ferrer and Tsonga, even if it did become a bit tricky. His groundstrokes were powerful, his defence as brilliant as it ever was and his dogged determination to work a break of serve against the big servers were all spectacular.

    And evidently, for a set and a half of this match it seemed to be paying off on the biggest stage. Noone can really know how much of an effect the rain break had, though im usually of the opinion that it most benefits the player who is trailing in the match, but Federer from the middle of the second set onwards was, if not his absolute best, very close to his peak. In reality, even if Murray had put away his few chances it would have been a struggle. Thats not to say it wouldnt have happened, I believed before the start that Federer was beatable and still believe it now.

    But most memorably today, Murray has sold himself to a huge number of fans. He didnt have to sell himself to me, I thought his obvious desire to succeed was evident almost from day 1, and we all go through the mill during his matches on a regular basis. But the sight after the match of Murray in tears and barely able to speak will have done vastly more than simply confirm how much desire he has to succeed at his chosen profession.

    And ive no doubt he will, and possibly in just a few short months time. The US Open is not far away, on arguably Murray's best surface. This, and the Olympics later this month, should provide a massive springboard in his push for that first major that will, im certain, be the first of many!

  • Comment number 27.

    @ 21

    Thanks for the correction. I made Andy look better than he can himself!

  • Comment number 28.

    Sorry @ 24

  • Comment number 29.

    @8 Magnus Norman has never won a slam but i take your point
    @16 that is stupid sure you can be a rafa fan or roger fan but you cant deny they're both legends and both have different qualities would roger have been here today if he ran into rosol i doubt it

    Unfortunately nadal's career will be inevitably cut short by injury i think the top 5 in 5 years will be:
    1. Djokovic
    2. Del Potro
    3. Goffin
    4. Tomic
    5. Raonic

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    Murray showed today that he truly has what it takes to win a grand slam, the improvements in his game from when Lendl became his coach to now is ridiculous, and they've been working together for what, 8 months? US Open is coming up and I would place Murray as close second favourite behind Fed Express, who admittedly was brilliant for the last 2 sets, and can only be seen now as the greatest player tennis has ever seen. The man's a sporting deity

  • Comment number 32.

    Truly, I never really liked him, but today changed that. There was something special of being British to be proud of, the crowd and the speaker in tears, a breaking of the wall. Loved it, and very well done to a Gent, Mr Fed, Congratulations. Thank you both for a cool Sunday afternoon.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ 29

    Well the majority of Rafa lovers are Roger haters! And yes Roger would have been here today if he played Rosol. Like is said class is permanent. Roger was going for his 7th and Rafa was trying for his 3rd Wimbledon title. Nothing was going to stop Roger and his majestical genius. Roger has the game to beat Rosol and Nadal clearly doesn't!

  • Comment number 34.

    I would also like to see federer given some more dangerous opponents in grand slam draws he seems to avoid dangerous claycourters like ferrer almagro and verdasco at the french and also avoids natural grasscourters like karlovic raonic fish querrey and kohlschreiber at wimbledon

    think murrays tough draw took a toll today

  • Comment number 35.

    29, you are correct, I think he lost at Roland Garros, apologies. Anyway I am glad you got the gist of my general point. I would rate Murray as a better player than Hewitt, Roddick and Thomas Johansson but they have won Slams. It just works out that way at times, although I do think he is too good not to win at least one. Fed won't be around forever and he is a match for Nadal in Aus & US.

  • Comment number 36.

    I have been a great fan Of Federer's tennis and his sportmanship, his sporting demeanour, over the years. I thought his winner's speech was patronising to say the least. Roger, you just lost a fan. I truly hope that Murray goes on to win a Slam. He is the best tennis player this country (Britain) has produced. Wimbledon doesn't deserve to see him win on Centre Court.

  • Comment number 37.

    Andy put everything he had into Wimbledon, so he was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted at the end.

  • Comment number 38.

    @30 I don't think you were watching the match at all. No denying that in the last two sets, overall Federer was far too good for Murray. But ordinary? Did you see some of the winners Andy was hitting even in the fourth set? Murray was, meanwhile, outplaying Federer up until 30-15, 5-6 in the second set. Why not recognise Murray's achievement in getting to the final and in giving, yes, almost certainly the greatest tennis player ever a great match up until the end? Rather than slagging him off so poorly and inaccurately.

  • Comment number 39.

    34-Federer beat Del Potro, Soderling (two time finalist) and Djokovic in Paris during the last few years, hardly easy draws. Truth is all surfaces are playing similar, whether that is good or bad. There aren't many 'specialist' players anymore, Ferrer getting so far here proves that. I wish we could go back to a bit more variety, more pace at both US & Wimbledon to mix it up a bit.

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 31

    What improvements? Hitting his serve in the net for the millionth time. Hitting his serve out for the umpteenth time. 56% first serves in throughout the entire march. It was an appalling performance from Murray. He really only played well for one set and that when Rog was playing sloppy. Really Murray was just "surviving" in that match. The gulf in class and ability between Andy and the Top Three is truly astronomical!

  • Comment number 41.

    Sportaddict,

    Nice stats, but it's worth noting that since 1976 only Agassi, Sampras, and Connors won Slams after their 31st birthday, and Agassi was the only one aged more than 31 and one month. Given that, it's tempting to wonder whether the US Open is Federer's last chance to get #18.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 30. Says it all.

  • Comment number 43.

    Only Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe? Can the BBC not afford Internet access for you Tom or are you just another poorly researched, imcompent journalist? It took me 20 seconds to find out otherwise e.g. Sampras. Why is acceptable for employees paid for by the licence fee to make such basic errors? Why do people who make basic errors that would be unacceptable in any other careers get the audience of millions?

  • Comment number 44.

    Oh and another thing, "federergodoftennis4ever" - finally Federer's managed to draw level with Murray in their head-to-heads. 16 matches played, 8 apiece. Again, Murray is not overrated - at least, not by everybody (though sometimes the BBC pundits seemed to get a bit too excited by Murray's chances!) - and has taken an important step on his path to possible Slam glory later by showing that he can turn up for the final!

  • Comment number 45.

    @35 or indeed gaston gaudio

    @33 as i said before different qualities fed is better on grass but on the other hand nadal has seven french opens federer has 1 the difference between them is roger has stayed injury free rafa hasnt...and i dont care how good roger is rosol was unbeatable that night

  • Comment number 46.

    I doubt Tomic will be ranked ahead of Raonic in 5 years time.

  • Comment number 47.

    Schuey,

    No. Djokovic, Federer, and Murray would all have beaten Rosol. Probably in straight sets.

  • Comment number 48.

    Murray lost it in my point of view. I thought Federer played terribly in the first set and half way through the second set. The truth was Federer was visibly shaken and Murray failed to capitulate as per usual. That inevitably allowed Federer back into the game. It's great seeing Federer win.

    In order for him to capture the British hearts, Murray has to earn it. He had home advantage, a Nadal knocked out in the 2nd round and a more tired Federer (who overcame former number 1 Djokovic) and he failed to deliver.

    Regardless of what many of you think, this was his best chance to win a Grand Slam. Djokovic and Nadal are part of his generation. There will be no escape from it. He will never win a Grand Slam unless the top 3 are completely eliminated before the final. He just cannot beat them in a final. Mentally, physically and "rhetorically" in a Grand Slam final.

  • Comment number 49.

    Tom
    This is very poor journalism. Agassi for one won multiple Grand Slams in his 30s.

    Even Wikipedia could tell you this. You should apologise.

  • Comment number 50.

    45 Not really, Nadal struggles against players who can hit it flat through him. It has happened to him against Tsonga & in his loss (only loss) to Soderling in Paris. His style of play meant Rosol would be a threat, Murray & Fed would move and mix it more against him and Djokovic would have hung in there. Nadal seemed jaded, he has since been advised to rest so as well as Rosol played I would back to other 3 to beat him.

  • Comment number 51.

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

  • Comment number 52.

    47 Murrays passive style would have been gobbled up federer and djokovic probably wouldnt have given him so many short balls

    39 those matches were all in the latter stages im talking about playing a dangerous floater in the 3rd or 4th round...ramos was even worse than alex bogdanovic malisse is a journeyman and youzhny is very overrated

  • Comment number 53.

    I have read all @FedererGodOfTennis4Ever's contributions here and believe he/she/it can't actually play tennis. Any objective observer and anyone at all who knows how to hold a tennis racquet and play to any reasonable level at all would know that this final between Federer and Murray was of the highest standard. Federer beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets, not four. Nadal was beaten earlier in the competition by someone who was subsequently beaten themselves in Murray's half of the draw. Murray could only play whoever was there in each round and ultimately in the final.
    The comment about Nadal not being there was simply ridiculous - a piece of attention seeking most likely, not an informed or credible criticism.
    I say well done Andy Murray. A superb tennis player beaten by a better player on the day. No disgrace there.
    The only disgrace is @FedererGodOfTennis4Ever's transparently provocative but pointless contributions.

    Oh, and by the way, nice blog post Mr Fordyce.

  • Comment number 54.

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

  • Comment number 55.

    federergodoftennis... please be quiet for a minute, stop gloating and if sycophancy was a crime you should get a licence for your keyboard.
    How much more of your inane drivel can this message board possibly take? Your man won? Well done, he definitely deserved it. He IS one of the greats but, despite what you would have us believe, he's not God. Murray was a couple of points from going two sets up. He didn't convert, because Federer's 'magestical genius' (!!) won through.
    federermastergenius4ever - or whatever your nom de guerre is - the subject of your sycophantic keyboard clatterings is GOOD, but he's not GOD. Put your bandana away...

  • Comment number 56.

    @ 10: what a mean spirited comment! And from your subsequent contributions I can see that I shouldn't have been surprised, because you are clearly a mean spirited person who alternates between blind hatred and blind adoration. I have NEVER made personal comments like this in a blog before, but being English has never stopped me being BRITISH first and foremost!

  • Comment number 57.

    50 yea thats a fair point he was taken to 5 by haase and petzchner the last time he won the title

    am i the only one who thinks fellow countrymen roll over against the big boys...nadals fellow spaniards are always thrashed by him troicki was beat before he walked on court against novak and wawrinka always bows down to roger...just a thought

  • Comment number 58.

    Murray showed huge courage and talent today but was unfortunately outplayed. His runner up speech was unbelievably moving and his passion for his tennis will most definitely see him win his grand slam.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ 53

    Chin up dude. By the way, is this the first time you've seen a tennis racquet? Unless you got to County standard or higher then maybe you can post and question my tennis knowledge. I played tennis at County level. I have had the privilege of growing up watching players like Steffi, Stefan, Boris, Pete and Andre. So I know my tennis and my opinions are opiniated but then that is the object of an opinion.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 53 Says it all on behalf of us, reading such a blowbag.

    @ 51 Not bitter at all. I was obviously talking about the best British player in our lifetime to date: Andy Murray.

  • Comment number 61.

    Murray will win majors, as long as he believes he will. He took Djokovic to five sets in Australia, and should have served for the match. In retrospect, maybe that's been his best chance so far as Federer under the roof at Wimbledon is unplayable. He has nothing to be ashamed of and he has a great coach in Lendl who knows how tough it is to keep convincing yourself that you can come back from disappointments - remember, Lendl lost his first four major finals and was two sets down in his fifth against a player (Mcenroe) who had won 42 matches in a row. If anyone can keep Murray confident and re-establish his self-belief, it's Lendl.

    But let's face it, if Murray HAD to lose this final, most of us are probably glad it was Federer rather than Djokovic who took the honour. As Jeff Tarango said, a lot of the great champions have a spell of two or three years without a major then break through again - Sampras did it with his last US Open win in 2002, his first Slam since Wimbledon in 2000, and Agassi did it with his French Open win in 1999, four years after winning the Australian Open and in fact three years after winning ANY title. For all the talk of Federer 'waning' and 'slipping down the rankings', he was still world #3 and was still winning Masters 1000 events and reaching the latter stages of majors. He was never in danger of falling away - he simply got surpassed by Nadal and Djokovic. Murray is definitely worthy of being spoken about in connection with those three, as he's beaten all of them many times before, including two wins over Nadal in Grand Slams. However, there's no shame in not having won a slam yet in a strong era that also happens to have two of the best players of all time in Nadal and Federer as well as a man who will also probably be considered one of the all-time greats in a few years in Djokovic. Only Del Potro has been able to break that monopoly on the majors since 2005, so Murray should NOT be treated as a disappointment for 'only' reaching four major finals as well as winning eight Masters titles.

  • Comment number 62.

    @ 36: I think you are being hard on Federer. At the end of the match it was written all over his face just how much this win meant to him; probably because many people have been writing him off and saying his era is over, and he had just proved them wrong in the most impressive style. But then you could see just how much he felt for Andy - he could understand and empathise with what he was going through and knew just what this final meant to him, and how difficult it has been for Murray trying to win a Slam against 3 such strong rivals. So I think he was genuinely trying to offer some comfort in his remarks, not being patronizing. But that's just my opinion.

  • Comment number 63.

    #33 FedGodBlahBlahwrote: "Well the majority of Rafa lovers are Roger haters! "

    Not at all You are making the mistake of assuming everyone else is as childish and petty minded as you are. Most genuine tennis fans appreciate the talents of ALL of the top players and feel privileged to watch them compete at probably the highest level the game has ever reached.

    We all have our favourites but your notion that anyone would HATE rival players is just a tedious obstruction to a grown up discussion.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ 55

    Get over your bitterness. Federer is not God but if he tennis was to have a god he would be it! And I think 17 Singles Slams makes him the God of Tennis. Same as 24 Singles Slam Titles make Magaret Court the Goddess of Tennis. Though my Goddess of Tennis is Steffi! And no I won't stop gloating. As a Spurs fan, I rarely get to do that!

  • Comment number 65.

    @ 63

    OK maybe I got it wrong. It's just the most Rafa fans I have blogged with have been Roger haters. I have always appreciated that Rafa is a quality player but I just don't like him and the way he plays and there is no law that says I have to. So I'm committing no crime!

  • Comment number 66.

    Don't feed the troll known as 'FedererGodOfTennis4Ever'. The worst thing you can do is risk legitimising his uninformed comments by putting more effort into your responses than he has into his original remarks. Anyone who thinks Murray had an 'easy' draw simply because Nadal went out clearly doesn't have a clue about tennis and is basing it purely on name value only. Murray had the single hardest run to a major final in the last several years. A former world #3 and four-time Grand Slam semi-finalist in the first round; a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in the second round; A Wimbledon semi-finalist and Australian Open finalist in the third round; an Australian Open semi-finalist who's beaten Murray in a Grand Slam before in the fourth round; the World #5 who beat Murray four weeks earlier at the French Open in the quarter-final; and a former Australian Open finalist in his second successive Wimbledon semi-final to reach the final. If you see that as an easy progression simply because of 'no Nadal', you're clueless. That's what 'FedererGodOfTennis4Ever' is suggesting, which is evidence that he doesn't follow the game and only watches it for the last few days of Wimbledon every year. Don't respond to him and don't pretend he has an opinion that has value, because he doesn't.

    Well played Murray and Federer, an excellent final.

  • Comment number 67.

    @64, why would you gloat? Are you a fan of British tennis? Or are you just glad a Scottish player didn't win Wimbledon? I have a funny feeling if he was English (from your previous comments) you wouldnt have such an attitude towards Murray.

    I think if you have followed his career to date he has shown on occasion that he can match the best. He has beaten them all enough. They just have that little bit extra in the big, pressure games.

    Add to this Federer was back on form and is IMO the best player ever to play the game, there is no shame in being defeated by him.

    Can you imagine Tim Henman playing them? Do you think he was better than Murray? I think its safe to say Murray would wipe the floor with him.

    There isn't a 'massive' gulf between the top 3 and Murray. There is a gulf between the top 4 and the rest, Murray isn't too far off the pace. He is playing in probably the best era for tennis and still has time on his side.

    He is clearly a very gifted tennis player, his return is probably the best in the game, he has a strong serve, good forehand and his movement has improved drastically over the last 12 months. There is no massive weakness in his game.

    You have to be a very good tennis player to not have a major weakness and be pretty solid across the board.

  • Comment number 68.

    @66

    Totally agree with you, even about the troll. Murray's first Grand Slam will come on a hard court, away from the UK with slightly less pressure, but I can't wait for that giant roar that erupts when he wins Wimbeldon.

  • Comment number 69.

    @ 66

    OK. You misconstrue me. At no point did I claim that Andy had an easy draw. It was just made "easier" tremendously by the fact that Nadal was sent home packing.

    And neither do you have an opinion that has value.

    "Murray had the single hardest run to a major final in the last several years" - do you only watch Wimbledon and not the other majors?

  • Comment number 70.

    @ 66

    I am sure that other players have had harder runs to finals in all majors in recent years. You can correct me if I am wrong, I am sure you will!

  • Comment number 71.

    Really impressed with Andy today, he played his best tennis in any Grand Slam Final. He usually starts off positive but when he loses a set all the old passive plays and negative moves come in, but not today. He had two set points to win the second set and if he had achieved that who knows what the outcome would have been. Cannot say enough about Roger, class all the way and definitely the best player we will ever see. Andy Murray is unlucky to have three of the best players in the open era to contend with.

  • Comment number 72.

    "Men don't win Grand Slam titles in their 30s. Only Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe have ever managed to do so, and then only once apiece."

    **

    Sorry, Tom, but this is tosh. Andre Agassi did it twice.

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

    "So I'm committing no crime!" @ 65

    **

    Certainly not. Always room for some class A 'bloggus ignoramus' round here. You have my permission to carry on commenting.

  • Comment number 75.

    @ 68

    Yes I am a troll. When Murray wins a slam (singles) come back and accuse me as such! I think you will find I am realistic and not a troll as you would call me!

  • Comment number 76.

    @ 74

    Why thank you! By the way, are you being sarcastic?

  • Comment number 77.

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

  • Comment number 78.

    I was so glad Federer won the tournament. The difference when Federer is in full-flow, no player in the world can match him. He plays such a beautiful, aggressive and tactical game that it is near impossible to play against him.

    Before the final, I was quietly confident that Federer would win but I had this nagging feeling that this year being 2012, with everything happening in this country, and considering how I felt Chelsea won the Champions League by destiny. So when the match began and Murray began so well, I feared the worst.

    You may be wondering why I'm not a big Murray fan, well to be honest the main reason is his attitude ON the court, not off it. His profouse swearing, non-stop moaning and his constant pointing to 'injuries' makes me want to support anyone but him. I have no problem with his dull nature off the court and in his interviews, his personal life is his own, but it is embarassing seeing a 25 year-old British number 1 being a bad example to the young kids who aspire to be as successful as him. What is even more frustrating is that this behaviour really is holding him back, Djokovic had a very similar attitude to Murray a few years back, he matured and look at the wonders that Djokovic has since achieved. Ivan Lendl really has made a huge difference to his game which is good to see but he still has a few more steps to take. Murray HAS the game to win multiple Grand Slams but he just needs a few more mental steps to make to have that winning mentality.

  • Comment number 79.

    Federergodof tennis4ever @51 & 59

    Fred Perry is the best player Britain has produced - he won 3 Wimbledon Singles Titles and 7 other singles majors plus 6 doubles majors (including 2 Wimbledon Doubles Titles) - ooh and he was English!

    I have had the privilege of growing up watching players like Steffi, Stefan, Boris, Pete and Andre. So I know my tennis
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I see your judging a player by how many titles they won, in the case of Fred Perry he is someway behind Renshaw, Doherty and Wilding, for Wimbledon championship wins. Now I would not put them above or below Fred but your postings regarding Murray are pathetic.

    That seems like a very limited number of players you mentioned and if you think who you have watched makes you some kind of expert, i must be at the genius level, using your standard. Afterall I have seen Laver onwards.

    Try opening your eyes and leave the stats behind, watch enough tennis you never know you may eventually realise just what makes a good player, or one of the great players.

  • Comment number 80.

    @73 Tim Henman was great at the 'serve and volley'. And your perhaps right about 2001, but look at the difference in standard of player at that time (Ivanisavic and Rafter were no match for the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and dare I say Murray). Tim was better than most if not everyone at the time at net play, but his serve was too slow and his baseline strokes were not hard or accurate enough. Murray has an all round package that Tim didn't have. As you pointed out, their records speak for themselves.

    I think, as you have said about being a fan of 'English tennis' and comparing it to the football leagues, you will have an instant dislike to Murray whether you like it or not as he is not English and his records and achievements will annoy you partly for that reason.

    I am Scottish, but I was a massive fan of Tim Henman, and Rusedski for that matter. I am a fan of British tennis, I want it to do well. I am a big fan of the EPL & a fan of the SPL (Because I was brought up to be a Hibs fan and therefore have to deal with the miserable standard of football the league throws up.)

    Murray being Scottish should have nothing to do with whether the country is behind him. He is the best player we have produced since the 30s. He never said he wasn't british. He said what most Scottish people (who don't want independence) say: 'Im Scottish first, British second' which is how English people will probably view it too.

  • Comment number 81.

    2 matches were played today; one was a draw and the other was a federer whitewash.

    Federer couldn't have asked for for circumstances any more conducive to his particular brand of majesty than a three set slam final played on an indoor grass court against a natural counter-puncher. He took his chance and he was very, very, very good.

    Murray tried hard: he was aggressive at times, he can actually hit the ball really well off both wings when he puts his mind to it; he didn't kick himself when he was down and was unlucky not to be able to take it to a fifth because he wasn't totally outplayed in the fourth and missed his only real break chance with an aggressive attempt at a forehand pass by about 1 inch - he certainly did not chuck it away. Unfortunately, his serve let him down a bit (as it always does against these guys) and let federer into his games in the third and fourth set so break chances for federer became enevitable. If murray could reliably 1st serve above 65% against federer, nadal and djokovic he probably would have won 5 or 6 slams already because he certainly has a much better first serve than the latter two. Fairly convinced his forehand has improved a lot, his cross-court forehand is actually an awesome shot now.

    The painfully evident effort and the fact that he overcame the toughest draw any of the top 4 guys had to reach the final, despite the fact that people constantly say that the 'ballast' of the mens game are imminently going to surpass him (Nadal lost to Rosol, deal with it), bodes well, bring on the US Open!!!

  • Comment number 82.

    The "troll" here again. It was simply a case of Braveheart today. And yes he showed up for 2 sets. Yes he had a tough draw but the toughest? Not sure! Flashes of brilliance from Murray but it was just that - "flashes". He was also gone in a flash as well!

  • Comment number 83.

    "are you being sarcastic?" - 'Fed' @ 76

    **

    Never! Lowest form of wit and to be avoided. No, I was being gushingly sincere.

    These blogs can get quite boring if everyone knows what they're talking about.

  • Comment number 84.

    Federergodof tennis4ever

    I find it ironic that you criticise Andy Murray's performance and in the same breath say you played county tennis and clearly did not suceed beyond this level. As you know the level between county tennis and reaching the top 100 in the world is considerable. Murray left the UK because he identified the fact that learning his craft in Spain gave him a far better chance of suceeding at the highest level. The problem with British tennis are the outdated views shared by people like you and the never ending negativity. Until this attitude changes the next generation of British players will share the same mindset.

  • Comment number 85.

    @ 80

    Fair comment! Thank you. But your comment "Murray being Scottish should have nothing to do with whether the country is behind him" also stands correct except Britain is not a country!

  • Comment number 86.

    It's all very interesting looking at who players have had to beat on route to finals and titles etc. Of course, at the end of the day each player can only play who is provided to them by the draw, and must do the job in each situation to get to the top. No one has ever just shown up on the tour and crushed everything right from the get go and never lost (Nadal's remarkable record at RG is the only thing close, although he missed '03+'04 to injury). It's the players who are consistently improving and maintaining their skills/form/bodies that are able to make it through enough draws enough times to win as many titles as they do.

    Federer with 17, Nadal with 11, and Djoko with 5 are examples of this. Clearly Federer has been the most consistent over the last 10 years, which is also why he has amazing runs at F, SF, and QF level. Don't forget what these runs mean in terms of opportunities created. As Fed said, for the last two years he has had a lot of pressure and some rough times, but he kept believing and kept working, kept getting to SF of slams, and today he got to the final and won it.

    Going back to draws, Muzzy did have a tough draw of people who have all been there in pressure situations who are looking for similar things as he was, but then Federer himself had to face Djokovic, world #1, defending champ, holder of 3 slams. That's as tough an opponent as you can face. Federer has also played Wimbledon for so many years (12 now?), and made 8 finals that he has seen every kind of player at every stage pretty much. Sampras, Nadal, Djoko, and the Murrays, the Roddicks, the Karlovices, the clay courters, etc; he beat them all.

    Awesome final today btw, whoever said it up there that it was not that special is a joker!

  • Comment number 87.

    @ 83

    Well thank you again! I agree, it's good to spice it up and offer the provocative other it would not be a debate and there would be no room for argument!

  • Comment number 88.

    "Men don't win Grand Slam titles in their 30s. Only Rod Laver and Arthur Ashe have ever managed to do so, and then only once apiece."
    shocking journalism - as someone pointed out, Agassi won the Aussie Open twice in his 30s and Sampras the US Open too - they're the first ones I checked.
    sloppy Mr Fordyce, very sloppy

  • Comment number 89.

    @ 84

    So far only you find it ironic. And you obviously don't understand or appreciate the work or effort or ability that it takes to even get to that level. Unless you got to County/Regionial standard then and only then can your comment stand!

  • Comment number 90.

    Arguing about who has won in their thirties is somewhat pointless. There's been a few, and at Wimbledon we saw one in sublime form.

    Murray's loss is no disgrace to him, he continues to improve. He was often returning shots that many, including Federer thought were winners. Which is one of Murray's strong points, his speed and workrate.

    He lost this match because:

    1. He didn't get as many of his first serves in as usual.
    2. His returns/rally shots didn't put enough pressure on Federer often enough. He went for quite a few safe shots to Federer's back hand even when there were other options to win the point. There was obviously a plan to target the back hand, but it's usefulness was diminished as it was used too much, making it more predictable.

    Of course we should realise that Murray wasn't hitting as many winners because of the excellent shot placement of Federer, which reduced Murray often to trying to achieve a return shot rather than a winning shot. The antidote to this is to take the initiative earlier (ie before your opponent) in the rally and hit more telling shots. Easy to say, I know.

    However, valiant effort. I'm pretty sure after the dust has died down, Murray will come back stronger and cleverer. Without doubt he'll continue to improve and his results will show that. I think he's got a few championships in him and I'd like at least one of them to be at Wimbledon.

  • Comment number 91.

    yes, definitely the toughest OF THE TOP 4!!! two former grand slam finalists one of whom is second highest ranked of "all the other blokes that play tennis", two slam semi finalists - one of whom is highest ranked of "all the other blokes that play tennis", a former world no 3 and tour finals champion and Ivo "Captain ridiculous serve" Karlovic - who incidentally has served his way through a reigning champion at SW19 before.

    I know you are trying to annoy people but that is pretty demanding set of opponents when you are seeded fourth and hoping that you could be eased into the draw by a nice wee match up with the second best tennis player Scotland has ever produced.

  • Comment number 92.

    Thegreatneb @86

    Awesome final today btw, whoever said it up there that it was not that special is a joker!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I doubt it could ever be called an awesome final although it was a good final, well above many but below others.

    For me it was the proverbial game of two halves, the Fed was certainly below par for the first two sets, whilst Murray was always fighting a losing battle from near the end of the second set.

    Fed's quality was evident while Andy could never quite reach the level required to match him.

    For a truly great match, both have to have the quality [which both have] and produce it on the day, throughout the contest.

    Of course the ocassion was special, for obvious reasons and it did not matter what the ending was because there was always a story to it.

  • Comment number 93.

    The 30-year-old Federer did not appear remotely out of breath at any stage, while Murray was utterly exhausted by the end of set 3. Is there really any reason why Federer's body should start breaking down in the coming months? He looks as fit and healthy as ever. I know he had some problems with his back against Benneteau but they obviously weren't too serious.

  • Comment number 94.

    Murray shows plenty of emotion, he tends to keep it for the court which I've no problem with and fair dues to him. Murray was in tears at this years Australian Open after defeat by Djokovic... also at the same tournament back in 2010 when Federer again beat him in a Grand Slam final. Yet British Tennis fans didn't take to him after either of those occasions. No guarantee things will be any different now... maybe if he was English.

  • Comment number 95.

    Good article , i've always liked Murray as he isn't full of fake smile's and the same old drivel , he played well but federer played great . No shame in losing federer playing a great game.

  • Comment number 96.

    For those that have said that Murray would not have been in the Final if Rafa wasn't knocked out, then please note that each player can ONLY play against the player at the other side of the net!
    And the 'Murray will have to play 2 of the best to reach/win a Final' statement goes for every body including the top 3.
    Andy isn't so very far from winning a GS, but to do so he needs more consistancy in 1st serve and up his 2nd serve.

  • Comment number 97.

    It's all well and good that Andy got to the final and he's been in other finals too but he just hasn't kicked on like the others for whatever reasons. Nadal won the French at 19 years of age, won Wimbledon at 22 and has 11 Slams (French mostly of course). Djokovic was 21 when he won the US Open and now has 5 Slams. Federer was 21 I think when he first won Wimbledon. The top 3 are in a league of their own and then Murray is top of the 2nd tier and I think it'll always be that way because if Murray ain't gonna join them now when is he? He may manage 1 or 2 Slams but I think that's the most you could hope. I do hope he eventually gets one because it'll be horrible if he doesn't.

  • Comment number 98.

    25.At 00:05 9th Jul 2012, WestLondonScot wrote:

    Half-hearted support? Were we watching the same match?

    For Murray, it was positive as he has played much better than the previous GS finals. But on the flip side, even playing that well, he was no closer to winning it.

  • Comment number 99.

    i have no doubt dat murray will win more than eight grandslam titles in d future.he has d potential to do it.had murray played in sampras-agassi era,he would hav won more than fifteen grandslam titles.his crying in public shows dat he is lion hearted.no fear to express his feelings.

  • Comment number 100.

    Great Legend. Federer has taken men tennis to a new level. This guy has won everything in the game of tennis. Above all Federer's personality is even greater than his tennis magic. Congrats Federer. There is no one like you as far as tennis is concerned. Murray, well done. Stay focused and be patient, surely you will win a grand slam.

 

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