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Murray stands on brink of history

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Tom Fordyce | 20:17 UK time, Saturday, 7 July 2012

Amid the carnage around Centre Court on Friday evening as Andy Murray's cross-court forehand fizzed past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to take him into the Wimbledon singles final, one man remained emotionless and motionless in his seat as all around they jumped and hugged.

We know Ivan Lendl well enough by now not to expect him to have high-fived his way down the Royal Box. So deadpan is Murray's coach that even his portrait in the tennis Hall of Fame has smiled more recently.

But the message the old warrior was sending out to his young charge was clear: why the big party?

To a nation on starvation rations since Bunny Austin became the last British male in a Wimbledon singles final 74 years ago, Murray's achievement in fighting through to a showdown on Sunday with Roger Federer was something to be simultaneously delighted and disbelieving about.

Andy Murray

Andy Murray (centre) warms up alongside coaching staff Dani Vallverdu and Ivan Lendl (right) ahead of his Wimbledon men's final match against Roger Federer on Sunday. Photo: Getty  

Lendl, a man who lost his first four Grand Slam finals and was two sets down in his fifth before coming back to win a remarkable eight, has the perfect perspective to tell Murray different.

Making finals is one thing. Making them count is quite another.

Austin's fate is a pertinent if sepia-toned case study. Having won his semi-final back in 1938 he was then horribly mangled by Don Budge in the championship match, winning just four games in his straight-sets defeat.

Murray, Lendl might well tell him, must be as resolute and single-minded as he himself was in finally winning that French Open final of 1984 rather than a Bunny in the headlights.

Lendl, of course, only had to contend with the weight of his own fearsome expectations. On Sunday Murray will have most of a nation glued to his exploits - in living rooms from Peterhead to Penzance, on radios in cars and kitchens and through smartphones wherever they can be waved.

For once this summer there will be no 50 shades of grey. Everyone will be watching, everyone involved.

This is a sporting occasion that is more than just sport, a game of tennis that will draw in people who thought themselves forever immune to Wimbledon's very particular charms.

You can sense it in the omens that are doing the rounds in pubs and on Twitter - Virginia Wade won the ladies' title in the Queen's Silver Jubilee, so Murray must be fated to win the gentlemen's during Her Majesty's Diamond ding-dong; that in the summer the Olympics come back to Britain, so too must the famous old gilt-edged pot.

A personal favourite is one of the more convoluted ones: Fred Perry turned 25 on 18 May 1934, and two months later won the first of his three Wimbledon singles titles; Murray turned 25 on 15 May this year, and so...

Like all omens, they make convenient little mention of their own contradictions. The Golden Jubilee back in 2002 brought nothing but a semi-final defeat for Tim Henman (from a chippy Australian, to boot); the London Olympic year of 1948 saw Bob Falkenburg take the title back to the Hollywood royalty of the Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles.

Perry played in trousers more formal than players today wear to the Wimbledon Winners' Ball.

The sensible will look for auguries instead in the statistics that separate Murray and Federer - or, in the case of this tournament so far, bind them together.

So far this fortnight, both men have played 22 sets. They are at 63.3% and 66.6% on their first serve, have hit a remarkably similar 237 to 222 winners and 103 to 88 unforced errors and both lost less than ten games on their own serve.

The reason Federer is slight favourite with most sage judges is not the last two weeks, nor the overall head-to-head between the pair, which has Murray standing at eight wins and Federer seven.

It is those previous meetings in Grand Slam finals, both won by Federer without Murray taking so much as a single set, as well as Federer's 23 previous Slam finals.

Then there is that near peerless record in SW19 - seven finals in eight years, with six golden titles and the only loss coming in the greatest Wimbledon final of all time.

Federer is not only the finest grass court player in history but a king who has made Centre his very own court. On Sunday he will have far more support than anyone hunting a homegrown hero has any right to expect.

So why then do Lendl and the rest of Murray's entourage believe that this time it can be different, that a man with 16 Grand Slam titles to his name can be usurped by a pretender who has previously only been flattened and deceived?

Dig a little deeper into Federer's magic numbers and the edifice shows its first cracks.
Federer, having won all but two of his first 14 Grand Slam finals, has now lost five of the subsequent nine.

It is three long summers since he last triumphed at Wimbledon; in each of the last two years he has gone out in the quarter-finals, and to Tomas Berdych and Tsonga - fine players, but neither eventual champions nor Grand Slam winners.

Federer is a month shy of his 31st birthday. Only two men in the Open era have won the Wimbledon title in their 30s: Rod Laver, way back in 1969, and Arthur Ashe in 1975.

The Federer of 2012 is still fully capable of the sublime tennis that made him the most popular player of his era. But, like all geniuses, his powers are not immune to the passing of time.

Perry, Laver, Borg and Becker; all virtuosos, all reduced to supporting roles by the end. If ever you were to take on their spiritual son Federer in a Wimbledon final, now is the moment.

He has been brilliant at times, not least in the first and third sets against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, and in the annihilation of Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets and just 92 minutes in the quarter-finals.

But Djokovic was far from the form that made him champion 12 months ago, and Youzhny is so much Federer's patsy (14 meetings, 14 defeats) that you expect him to prostrate himself when they toss for serve.

In his third round match against 29th seed Julien Benneteau, Federer was two sets down and staring into the abyss until the Frenchman froze; in the fourth against Xavier Malisse he required the regular intervention of the trainer to keep his body and title shot on track.

For all the weight of history on Murray's shoulders (286 Grand Slam finals have passed since a British man last won one) Federer has records of his own to worry about.

A win on Sunday would pull him level with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw at the top of the all-time Wimbledon titles list; it will also make him world number one again at a stage in his career when most thought it far beyond him.

Murray must start well, serve like a howitzer and keep his concentration from first to final point. He must target the Federer backhand and escape his forehand's cross-hairs.

More than that, he must reduce the dramas of that Tsonga semi, Ferrer fright and the 11.02pm finish versus Baghdatis to mere footnotes in a far grander tale.

If he can, the scenes on Centre last Friday will pale far, far into insignificance.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "Everyone will be watching, everyone involved."

    Whilst I do have an interest in the outcome of the final, I'll be watching Wiggins, Evans, Nibali and Froome. There's also a Grand Prix tomorrow. We are a little spoilt for choice in our viewing (particularly between 2-3 pm)!

  • Comment number 2.

    well then. Good luck to Murray..

  • Comment number 3.

    Excellent blog Tom. One of the best I've seen.

    Cheering on Murray as loud as I can tomorrow, I think it's going to be special. He needs a good start as he's started sluggishly in most of his matches. If he can get the first set, it will be a huge confidence boost; not only because he will have made an excellent start but he will have won his first ever major final set. Federer is not invincible anymore. In fact, I think his play has looked better than it actually has been this tournament. The serve has been his biggest strenght and Murray is a great returner. It will be difficult and may well be 5 sets but COME ON ANDY!

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes, good luck Andy Murray.

  • Comment number 5.

    Come on Andy!!! I love F1 but I'll be glued to the tennis tomorrow. This is massive. I'd love to see him win, but either way, the guy is a national treasure who showed incredible heart to make it this far!

  • Comment number 6.

    So chuffed he made the final, and as it's his 4th GS final, about time to win. Federer is favourite, rightly, and has been back at his best this tournament. But when Murray is in the groove, he is hard to beat. The key for me will be Murray's concentration and focus. He must have a game plan, and stick to it, regardless of how many Federer missiles fly past him from time to time. In a year with the Euros, London Olympics, a Briton favourite for the Tour de France (actually a bigger deal in some ways, as we've NEVER won that, or been better than 4th I think), a Murray win would still be the stand-out sports story of 2012. As a nation, we do enjoy our tennis, but rarely have we had the chance to engage with it on national TV with our own man in the mix. It could be great. It might be predictably Federer. We'll see.

  • Comment number 7.

    Just thought I'd get a post in before all the 'haters' and trolls start infesting the blog; nothing wrong with an opinion, it's the venom and spite that gives away who the writer is.
    Hope it's a great game tomorrow, and although it maybe unlikely I hope Murray wins - he deserves to after all that he has achieved - and been through.

  • Comment number 8.

    I sense that Andy will play well; with it being Wimbledon and the Jublilee, he kind of has to. But I sense that the match will be decided by whether Federer plays well. Sometime he is moody and then he loses. Sometimes he is aggressive in a positive way and then he wins. The match sits on Federer's raquet.

  • Comment number 9.

    The crowd will have a part to play in Liquidfire's point. Unfortunately we are very fair, and there are lots of posh ladies who love Roger, so he will get some support. Watching people play against French players at Roland Garros, they got booing and stick at any opportunity - we don't do it. But the crowd will need to get under Roger's skin at some point. Unsettle him a bit.

  • Comment number 10.

    I can't remember being this nervous when Federer has reached a grand slam final. Possibly in 2008 at Wimbledon against Nadal, which turned out to be the greatest tennis match ever in my opinion, though this time it is just unparalleled. I think Federer will be greatly relieved that he doesn't have to face his arch-rival Nadal in yet another grand slam, as I think Nadal has had a mental edge over Federer specially in the grand slams for quite a few years now, so psychologically he should be in a great place. Thought he was absolutely sublime against Djokovic in the semis, though it reminded me a little bit about their encounter at this year's French, where Federer committed several uncharacteristic errors, and this time at Wimbledon it was Djokovic. Still nothing to take away from a great performance. Likewise, I thought Murray played superb against Tsonga for the first two sets, but then I thought he became a little passive and considered the job already to have been done. Nevertheless it is going to be a very tough match, but I sincerely hope Federer wins. It, in my opinion will be his greatest achievement if he wins his 17th slam, 7th Wimbledon title tying Sampras, and reaching the world #1 ranking and surpassing Sampras' record at weeks at no 1. All remarkably at the age of 30, on the verge of becoming 31, an age where you are considered to be done, where Fed has been written off multiple times in the past couple of years. Murray will have his chances again, but I think Fed will rise to the occasion just like Serena today. C'mon Rog, history beckons and you thoroughly epitomize that word!!

  • Comment number 11.

    So much at stake for both players, as a tennis purist I would favour Federer- he is a legend & the iconic player of the era but will be happy whatever the result is - Murray has earned this over the years he deserves a slam at some stage.

    Either player is a worthy winner but if Federer replicates the form of Friday it's a difficult task for Murray.

  • Comment number 12.

    Really not trying to troll, but..

    "So far this fortnight, both men have won a total of 22 sets apiece." You mean 18. Can only win three sets in any given match :)

    "So why then do Lendl and the rest of Murray's entourage believe that this time it can be different, that a man with 17 Grand Slam titles to his name can be usurped by a pretender who has previously only been flattened and deceived?" For the moment at least, he's still on 16.

    But I completely agree with the sentiment of the piece.

  • Comment number 13.

    Andy has been brilliant in more moments during this tournament than I have seen him before. Tomorrow is more than just a game, I think it is the coming of a man. Tomorrow is about Murray standing up and being what we have all hoped for, 'A Champion'. He has fought for the right to be there, he has shown he has the talent, now is his time to show he can be GREAT......COME ON ANDY!

    No matter who wins tomorrow, it will be a deserved Champion.

  • Comment number 14.

    i think murray will loose his bottle as normal,and get stuffed
    tomorrow

  • Comment number 15.

    Federer is probably the greatest player ever he is a true master of the game. But I'm with Murray I won't him to win I don't care if he is lucky or Roger has an off day. Just do it Andy!!

  • Comment number 16.

    It will be all the more sweeter if Andy can win at Wimbledon against Federer, one of the greatest of all time. If Federer gets in the zone Murray will be in big trouble but he has a few tricks up his sleave and plays with a lot of deception. Come on Andy!!

  • Comment number 17.

    I like Murray as a player and it is great to have a Brit in the final but I just think that Federer will have too much for him in a Wimbledon final. I think Federer will win in four sets.

    http://jedidiahgore.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/will-we-see-magnificent-murray-or.html

  • Comment number 18.

    erm, sorry #12, you "quoted" the author incorrectly, then corrected him!!! he said "played" 22 sets, not "won" 22 sets, and he actually said that Fed had won 16 slams, not 17!!! unless the blog has been updated since your post, of course...

  • Comment number 19.

    Win or lose its a great effort so please let's not have posts about choking and bottle etc as its very boring and inaccurate. Losing to 16 time major winner is never choking, it is simply the hard fact of being beaten by a higher level of talent across the net, as per Herman vs Sampras.....

  • Comment number 20.

    Murray is clearly very talented and deserves his place in the final, but I wonder if he is ruthless enough to grasp the limited number of opportunities which Federer will allow him. Murray eased up in the third set against Tsonga and put himself in far more danger than was necessary - doing the same against Federer is likely to prove fatal. It's nice to think that whoever prevails, the winner will be a worthy champion and ambassador for the sport.

  • Comment number 21.

    Murray is in the final just because of Nadal exit, otherwise it would have been the same story like last year and so on...There is no match b/w Federer and Murray..There is a Gulf of class b/w them. I am really surprise to read the punters verdict as many of them have predicted Murray to win.They are professional and they should give prediction based on the facts just like they did for Djokovic in the Semis, not because of patriotism. All of us will see that Federer will win tomorrow in 3, max 4 sets. Federer is too much for Murray to handle...

  • Comment number 22.

    Go Andy!

  • Comment number 23.

    Come on Murray!!

    Much has been said and much more analysed. I just want him to have a really good crack at it and leave nothing in the tank. If he can do that then no one can be disappointed. I am just happy for him to get into the final and hopefully start to put himself more often into these situations at the slams. He needs to put himself into these positions to give himself the chance to start to win any of them. The more he can do that, the more he will learn and the more he will be able to deal with it on an emotional level. We can all analyse everything he does from the comfort of our arm chairs but anyone that is remotely into tennis should be able to get behind both players and hope for a fantastic final! This is the most important factor behind just enjoying the game.

    I really hope he does it just because it would be amazing for him to break the duck on home soil and I just want it to become a catalyst for him to move on and be really in the mix when it comes to finals in the slams. I think if Murray can win this it will really change the dynamic of the top four and make it a very intense group of players. More so than it already is!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Murray is the commensurate under-achiever and epitomises what the Brits do best... come third. Having said that since Ivan has put him on Kadazi fitness regimae and took some of the mental pressure off him, we are seeing another side of Andy Murray. More John Noakes than Bill Oddie, more Patrick Moore than Bjorn Borg. C'mon ANDY !!

  • Comment number 25.

    Lets just think about this as Brits when is the next time we will see a home-grown player make the final of Wimbledon? There's no guarantee Murray will make it again so for all those who are betting against Andy just remember we are lucky to be witnessing this match in our life time....

  • Comment number 26.

    All I am hoping for today is that Andy Murray plays his best tennis.
    Even if roger is better, this needs to be Murray's moment to shine.
    Anyone writing Federer off is completely mad,still the most naturally gifted player to play the game. Oh and I hope that Lendl raises a smile if Murray does win, would be nice. http://playwithflair.com

  • Comment number 27.

    If Federer is on fire and playing well then Murray will have to throw caution to the wind and go for the lines every time. This is what Nadal does to Federer on the big points and it really unsettles Federer.

    Problem is, I tend to see Murray being very cautious on such points and hoping, waiting for his opponent to miss - and to be fair, in such a massively tense match for him it won't be easy to relax the shoulders and just blast the ball for the lines.

    First set is key, for normally Federer relaxes and becomes more dangerous if he feels he is ahead - and when he is relaxed he can still play the best tennis seen.

    BUT....now he nearly always goes a bit AWOL in every match, sometimes just for a game or two, sometimes a set - and this is when Murray needs to pounce and unsettle him even more. (Nadal's winning tactic).

    Can't wait!

  • Comment number 28.

    Rooting for a Murray win more than I've rooted for anything (sportswise) for a long time. It's the correct outcome. However, ask me what I think will happen, rather than what I want to happen, and I have to say Fed in three maybe four. I'm at the match so I will try and do my bit. Plenty of 'c'mon Andys' and I'll be booing and jeering at Roger and clapping his every mistake.

  • Comment number 29.

    Anyone but Scotland to win the tennis!

  • Comment number 30.

    Murray will have to be on top of his game today and so long as he doesn't let nerves get the better of him he should win. Anyway who wants a guy who has his initials on his shirts to win :)

  • Comment number 31.

    Good blog. It is going to be very close, and whatever happens, history will be made. Take a look at this for all the facts and figures you need to be an armchair expert today: http://www.quizquizquiz.com/blog

  • Comment number 32.

    Excellent and informative blog. Hope Lendl and Murray read it!
    Hope the roof stays open as Federer is so good indoors. Murray's mental strength has been magnificent this fortnight which partly accounts for his excellent service games e.g coming back to hold when 15-40 down numerous times
    I just want Murray to compete as he was blown way in Oz and US finals.
    If he shows a tad more aggression, he can do it..
    Best of British luck Andy..

  • Comment number 33.

    Like all British tennis fans I want Murray to win. But I probably won't get to see the final as I'm in Cambodia and will have to find a bar with a TV set. It will be evening here by the time the match starts and my travelling companions want to see a traditional dance show . . . It is ironic that this is the first Wimbledon final I've missed on TV probably for ever. Please BBC keep showing the match once a month during the winter instead of everlasting boring football.

  • Comment number 34.

    I noticed that all the spotlight in the news is about AndyMurry and the Wimbledon final, which took 10 minutes in the news this morning, but hardly any mention that we already have a Wimbledon Champion in Marray pathetic!

  • Comment number 35.

    Probably the best most balanced BBC blog in the last 6 moths. Thank you, Tom.
    Heart says Murray. Head says Rog in 3-4 sets.!

  • Comment number 36.

    I think everyone is getting carried away. Obviously Roger will win. That overrated numpty Murray doesn't stand a chance. Roger will not be as kind as Tsonga.

    Murray's overrated and quite frankly he's not even that good.

  • Comment number 37.

    Oooo errrrr....what a choice today.....Murray/Federer / Silverstone /Wiggins-Cavendish....Better go lie down in a dark room to make my mind up........Nope, like most of you, I'll channel-hop. All have a good day's viewing !

  • Comment number 38.

    Murray is one of the best defensive players around. And he's shown he can step up a few gears when needed. But as an earlier poster said, it very much depends on whether Federer is in the groove. He doesn't do percentages, so if he starts to miss a few lines and catch the net cord a few times Murray can build pressure. Although he is going to have to do more than just get the ball back. Basically he'll have to be at 100%. Tough one to call.
    Amazing few weeks for British sport. Cricketers giving the Aussies a spanking, Cav, Wiggins etc. looking good, Grand Prix - anything could happen; Men's Doubles champ Marray and now Murray. And the weather reliable as ever.

  • Comment number 39.

    I hope for the sake of the sport that hamster Murray doesn't win.
    What will it say about teh sport if an overrated numpty like him wins.
    But i don't need to worry because Roger will easily spank him in straight sets.

  • Comment number 40.

    A chance to make a little piece of history, wow

    Try and enjoy yourself Andy, and go for it!

  • Comment number 41.

    Another F1 fan that realises that this match is bigger than the Grand Prix(will watch that on iplayer later). No idea how this is going to play out though. Yes Andy's had a bit of luck to get this far but this going to be insane to watch!

  • Comment number 42.

    6-0 sets in Grand Slam tennis. The only head-to-head that matters.

  • Comment number 43.

    Help, please. On BBC1 News this morning, some commentator made a very erudite comment about some tennis player along the lines (but more telling) that 'he wore his wisdom ...' or, perhaps, 'the years have honed his wisdom...'

    Can anybody remember it?

  • Comment number 44.

    Our friend @39 who thinks Emile Heskey is a legend has rather missed the point. Murray is an over-rated numpty and a hamster? Frankly you're showing yourself to be pathetic, ill-informed amd rather juvenile.

    He's No. 4 in the world, has been for a few years, has beaten all of the main players regularly, has even got a better head-to-head against Federer. Does that make Federer a numpty and smaller hamster too then?

    Will Murray win? My head says No, my heart Yes. But my head says he CAN also win because he's a top player, someone who can play amazing shots and has proved he can beat the top 3 before. The fact that Lendl has chosen to coach Murray - and not anyone else - should tell you everything. He saw Murray's raw talent, just needed to sort out Murray's attitude and become more aggressive on court. He's not with the likes of Tommy Haas or Gasquet because he saw real talent in Murray which he thought he could nurture.

    So let's back off the "Murray isn't really that good" agruments as they are pretty pathetic. People may not like his character, demeanor at times, etc. Fine. I can get that.

    But Murray has a chance today to make me and many others very very proud because for once, FOR ONCE, in my 53 year lifetime we have a chance of a British Wimbledon winner. I never thought I would be able to say that and will be screaming for him to win today. Today is more than just a match but a chance for Britain to expunge many years of hurt in a game we invented.

    Come on Andy! Forget numpties like the Emile Heskey lover who can't see - and respect - real talent when they see it staring them in the face.

  • Comment number 45.

    WIMBLEDON FEVER

    The time for the showdown is near
    We ‘re approaching the final with fear –
    Can the dour young Scot
    Show us just what he’s got
    Or will he be out on his ear?

    His mother will sit and extend
    Her matronly gaze to the end
    The pressure is mounting
    Just one day – and counting
    Her honour he has to defend!

    (Federer stands in the slips
    With victory words on his lips
    He’s mighty and bold
    A champion of old
    As his Wilson he manfully grips).

    Poor Andy – he carries a weight!
    The hopes of this united (?) State –
    Upon his slim shoulders
    He carries huge boulders
    What will be the sum of his fate?

    So hope as you watch the TV
    With cucumber sandwich and tea –
    With each perfect volley
    That he stays on his trolley
    And does it for you and for me!

  • Comment number 46.

    Can you imagine a genial Englishman playing in the final of the mens All Scotland Tennis Championship in Edinburgh ? Thats right, he would be booed continuously.
    Murray picks a fight with tennis fans and the media by repeating he would back any foreign team against England in any sport !
    How hypocritical to expect support !
    Murray may win, by law of averages and Federer being past the peak of his powers. If he does it will not make him a great champion or popular, Federer is and always will be a class apart and the king!

  • Comment number 47.

    Here we are again - the BBC with its total infatuation with Wimbledon tennis once more; "Wimbledon this, Wimbledon that......" At the same time, Mark Cavendish - probably one of the greatest athletes Britain has ever seen (along with several other Brits) gets minimal coverage (if at all) during the Tour de France! The cyclists are true athletes - they don't stop every couple of minutes for a rest, but spend literally hours in (and out!) of the saddle!

    Why, why, why BBC? If it doesn't get covered, people won't enthuse about this sport will they?

    On another note, why do your commentators refer to Murray as 'Marray' - wasn't Marray in the doubles final? Come on commentators it's a 'U' NOT an 'A' in the Scotsman's name!!

  • Comment number 48.

    It's hard not to seem like a churl when suggesting that Federer is rightly the clear favourite to win this afternoon. Bookies may have got it spectacularly wrong before in various sports, such as when Buster Douglas defied all logic acouple of decades back, but they have a habit of backing the right man. Federer, who has the mental steel that Mike Tyson ultimately lacked, is the pick from every technical and historical angle, it seems to me.

    Most of the arguments advanced in favour of a Murray success this afternoon seem to centre either on wishful thinking ("it's his time", "destiny is with him", "the crowd will lift him to victory") or the flawed notion that Murray's defensive skills will be the factor that make the great Swiss crack. As though Djokovic, an even better returner and chaser of lost causes than Murray, didn't attempt something similar in his semi-final with Federer.

    Federer's experience of the big occasion, particularly at Wimbledon stands clearly in his favour. The variety of his game, and his own not inconsiderable ability to prolong points that are apparently lost, lose nothing in comparison with Murray's, either. Psychologically, the fact that Murray has not really been at his best in any of his previous Grand Slam finals leads one to the conclusion that any mental edge lies with Federer as well, who does not have to put up with the scars of previous GS losses that he would have had to contend with if he were playing someone like Nadal.

    The British experts, of course, largely predict a Murray win. I'm bound to say that I would love too have seen a little more in the way of proper analysis of why they make that choice, rather than the nebulous patriotic/destiny/man of the hour schtick that has dominated the last couple of days. I would particularly single out John Lloyd, a man who increasingly appears to resemble Paul Whitehouse's DJ, Smashy, as someone who leaves rationality behind whenever he discusses Murray's chances in any given match. Remember how, in his opinion, Murray was favourite to beat Nadal in last year's semi?

    Murray's a great player, who at any other time would probably have won multiple Slams by now. Unfortunately, he has to contend with three of the greatest players of all time to achieve even one, and the best of them all stands in his path once again. I expect a well-contested match, not unlike their Australian Open final of a couple of years ago. As then, however, I also expect the man who is basically the better player to win the crucial points. Federer to win

  • Comment number 49.

    I wish the BBC could spare us (and Andy Murray) from close-up mug shots of him after a poor shot, looking as if he has just swallowed a goldfish which had got stuck in his adam's apple. It is not endearing - and I am beginning to really admire the guy.

  • Comment number 50.

    One minor thing: this article suggests Borg was reduced to an also ran by the time he retired...not the case, he lost Wimbledon and us open finals then retired whilst stil 2 in the world. Nevertheless, I don't understand the Murray haters. Yes he lacks personality, yes he is proud to b Scottish, but when he steps on court he's representing Britain and we should get behind him. I'm English and wouldn't support Scotland in a football tournament, however this summer I will get behind the whole GB team at London.

  • Comment number 51.

    As the handle says, i'm both, Swiss & British. And yes I am totally torn between who I would rather see win the 2012 Championships. So much, so much history come into play. I won't go on about it, since it has all been said, written, illustrated, debated & so forth. So its like this: 50.5% of me wants a Roger win, 49.5% Andy. Simply because he's 30 & won't have many more chances to get to beat Pete's record of 286 weeks... G.O.A.T? I think there is no more discussion on the matter.
    May the best man win!

  • Comment number 52.

    May the best man win, I am a Federer fan but Andy has a good shout in this match up. However, I do hope he doesnt start 'limping' and 'grimacing' every time a point goes against him, as though he is suddenly injured. I think Roger will win in 3, if Andy is passive against him it might be over in a quick time too.

    Mentally you feel Andy needs to win at least a set, if he was to lose 4 Slam finals without winning one set it wouldnt be great for him mentally. I feel a bit for genuine tennis fans, apparently this is the biggest match Andy has played, forgetting he actually beat Nadal to get to 2 Slam finals in the US & Aus. Wimbledon is merely one of the four big prizes, not the be all and end all.

    Federer will become world number 1 & take him 6 Slams clear of Nadal, extra incentive for the Swiss.

    Totally agree with the poor coverage of the Tour de France, Wiggins has an actualt chance of retaining the Yellow Jersey all the way to Paris, probably one of the greatest feats in sport (cue the drug bashers) and would, in my opinion, eclipse a Murray win at SW19.

  • Comment number 53.

    Why do people feel the need to come onto this site and tell lies? Mark Jeffries @ 40 claims that "Murray picks a fight with tennis fans and the media by repeating he would back any foreign team against England in any sport", which is a complete and utter lie. Why make stuff up just because you've taken a dislike to someone? It's completely pathetic if you have to justify your own personal prejudices by lying about the people concerned.

    As for the comment that everyone in Edinburgh would boo any Englishman in a tennis final, I'd love to know how he came up with this load of claptrap. Presumably he's a non-tennis follower and never watched any of the Davis Cup matches held at Braehead arena in Glasgow, where all the English players got massive and unequivocal support from the Scottish crowd.

  • Comment number 54.

    I make Murray a clear favourite. Against Nadal or Djokovic he'd have to play his best aggressive tennis and hope they'd play badly to even have a hope. Against Federer he needs only to play steadily and await Federer mistakes, which for the last couple of years
    have become far more prolific even on the once feared forehand Only Fed's serve is solid nowadays .
    In other words, Murray playing passively, which is his natural game is enough. I even think it might be in 3.
    To not have to play the top 2 at any stage, is what Andy must have been praying for and needed to
    win a slam to be honest.
    If he does win, don't credit Lendl so much as the other Czech, Rosol whose Freakish performance against Nadal was like nothing I've ever seen or likely to see again.

  • Comment number 55.

    I have just read that alex salmond is pitching up today. What an utter joke of a man. A simply horrid publicity seeking attention deficit disorder clown of a politician. An embarrassment to all of us in Scotland. Lets all hope Murray wins his big event and salmond gets thrashed in his.

  • Comment number 56.

    Is there anyone out there who can clarify the following?
    Why do we have an English, Scottish, Welsh & Northern Irish national teams in rugby, football and other team sport and at the same time, in club football, Welsh teams compete in the English premiership but Scottish clubs have their own? In most individual sports, athletes compete under the Union Jack flag... it's SOOO BLIMMING CONFUSING?!?!?! is there any point in trying to make sense out of it?

  • Comment number 57.

    Best of luck to Andy - you have earned the chance and right to lift this title through talent and hard work and more hard work. Remember that 99.9% of Brits are behind you, and the other 0.1% including those above who critise you are simply jealous.

  • Comment number 58.

    Murray could win but the British commentators are ludicrous as they make statements that they are calling Murray to win but cannot back it up with factors other than, "its Murray's time, "I have a feeling" etc.

    I think the British commentary turns neutrals to support anyone but the British player.

  • Comment number 59.

    I am so excited that the male model David Buckham is going to be their!

  • Comment number 60.

    Wishing the finalists
    and their fans a
    fine afternoon of
    vintage tennis.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 61.

    One of the greatest ever male tennis players against an in form player who has become the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final in 74 years.

    Should be a cracking match. I think Murray has to win the first match to have a chance.

  • Comment number 62.

    Correction - I meant first set not first match!

  • Comment number 63.

    Reference#60 Caj Baby, Vintage Tennis was played in 1936, the last time an Englishman won the Wimbledon Singles.

  • Comment number 64.

    Getting a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, Andy is starting to wilt.

  • Comment number 65.

    If i were Roger Federer, and the Brits gave me enough money, i'd just let Murray win. (I just retracted this scandlous statement myself.)

  • Comment number 66.

    A great match. Murray did what he could but in the end was beaten by a better player.

    An amazing achievement by Federer, arguably the greatest male tennis player of all time.

  • Comment number 67.

    Murray showed none of the mental frailties of the past, he was truly in with a chance before Federer nicked the 2nd set.

    He should feel proud of what he has achieved but he was up against the player who is currently the GOAT & new world no 1 - no shame is losing to Federer.

    As Overend said in his blog......disturbing times for Federer.


    Anyone seen Overend ?

  • Comment number 68.

    Andy blubbing on the Centre Court was rather embarrassing, Tim Henman would never have cried like a baby.

  • Comment number 69.

    Roger Federer was simply awesome at times today. Murray also played some magnificent tennis and was in with a great chance before the new world number one stole the second set. Well played Murray who I really think will take at least one Grand Slam title, as said by his opponent. Federer must now fancy his chances of going past Sampras and taking an eighth Wimbledon trophy.

    http://jedidiahgore.blogspot.com/2012/07/majestic-federer-too-good-for-battling.html?spref=tw

  • Comment number 70.

    Really wanted to read or see some highlights about Federer and Murray's match, but it seems that BBC hasn't yet written about them, I guess that will be out tomorrow. But a good article by asportinginsight cleared some of the fog for me.

 

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