Andy Murray says he has learnt from the losses; lot on the line for Federer
This is the final all of Britain wanted, Andy Murray versus anybody really, but you can’t go wrong with Roger Federer, properly royal and greatly loved.
But what of the rest of the tennis world? We’ve had Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the finals of the last four Grand Slams, pushing each other to places neither had been and producing last-gasp tennis that came from the gut as much as anywhere else. It was epic.
But change is always good, particularly one with such intriguing possibilities.
If Federer wins, he’ll capture his 17th major, his seventh Wimbledon title, and become the World No.1 (for the 286th week). Each is a record: the first is his own; he’ll equal Pete Sampras with the other two. He’ll add another wrinkle to the Greatest of All Time debate, for he’ll have done this at 30, when it seemed as if Nadal and Djokovic had displaced him from the top of present-day tennis.
If Murray wins, he’ll become the first British man in 76 years to win Wimbledon, to win any major actually, and confirm to the rest of the world what his tennis peers already think — that he isn’t just a sideshow to the Big Three, but a genuine fourth musketeer.
Federer seemed to embrace the enormity of the moment. “There's a lot on the line for me,” he said. “I have a lot of pressure, but I’m looking forward to that. I’ve worked extremely hard since I lost that match point against Novak last year at the US Open. Now I have a chance at No. 1 and the title all at once. It’s a big match and I hope I can keep my nerves. I’m sure I can.”
Murray, interestingly, went the other way, trying to deflect the pressure. “It’s a great challenge, one where I’m probably not expected to win the match, but one that, you know, if I play well, I’m capable of winning. So, you know, the pressure that I would be feeling if it was against somebody else would be different. But there will be less on me on Sunday, you know, because of who he is.”
Murray leads their head-to-head 8-7, all their matches on hard-courts. The two times they met in a Grand Slam final — the 2008 US Open and the 2010 Australian Open — Federer won in straight sets. Murray said he has learnt from the losses, but that he wouldn’t obsess with the details — in tennis, every day is different. What is certain, however, is that neither can afford to be passive, Murray even less so. If the Scot is to do what his coach, Ivan Lendl, couldn’t despite making the final in 1986 and 1987, he’ll need to hustle Federer, physically and tactically. Only, Federer isn’t easily hustled.