Roger Federer ended Andy Murray’s bid to become the first British Wimbledon Champion since Fred Perry in 1936 with a 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 win in London today.
In doing so, Federer won his record 7th Wimbledon title (tying Pete Sampras and William Renshaw) and returned to the World No. 1 ranking tying Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks atop the world rankings (which Federer will pass next week). John McEnroe put it right after the match, “We’re talking about the greatest player to ever step on the court.”
Playing in his first Wimbledon Final and facing all sorts of pressure from British fans and press, everyone expected Murray to be the one to start the match tight and full of nerves. But, rather it was the six-time champion, Federer, who showed his nerves in the opening moments. A plethora of errors gave Murray a break of Roger’s serve in the opening game and Murray followed up with a quick service game for a 2-0 lead. But Federer, being the champion that he is, got the break back and evened at the score at two apiece. A back and forth set went Murray’s way 6-4 after a crucial break at 4-4.
The second set was much like the first in its extremely high quality of play and it’s back and forth nature. Murray battled his way to multiple break point chances at 4-4 trying to replicate his first set performance, but Federer rallied to take the game and then take the set 7-5 ending it with a brilliant backhand volley. One set apiece.
Like it had all week, the rain played a major role in this match. The rain started to come down at 1-1 40-0 on Federer’s serve and play was suspended while the roof was being closed. Play resumed after almost 40 minutes and Federer picked up his game up jumping out to a 4-2 lead after breaking Murray in a 26 point, 15 minute game. Federer would take the set 6-3.
Federer’s average serve speed without the roof was 120 mph, but with the roof closed Federer’s average climbed up to 125 mph. The stability that the roof provides by taking away the obstacles of the sun and wind allowed Federer to control the toss on his serve and therefore control his serve more --a major difference in the match.
The fourth set was all Federer as he ran out to a 4-2 lead and then held his way to a 6-4 set to win the match. Murray did all he could to try to claw his way back in but ultimately Federer was just too much.
During the trophy presentation, Federer said of Murray that “he will win at least one Grand Slam.” Murray, now 0 for 4 in Grand Slam Finals, showed huge signs of improvement today in both his play and composure. Murray had not won a set in his previous three finals appearances and his level of play had been rather passive and disappointing. Today Murray played very well, controlling his emotion and playing aggressive tennis but ultimately Federer was just too good today. This could prove to be Murray’s turning point in his career and he could use this as a launching pad to winning a Grand Slam finally (or multiple). We will have to wait and see.
For Federer, soon to be 31 years old, it is his male record 17th Grand Slam title, his 7th Wimbledon title and his 286th week atop the world rankings. Federer silenced the doubters in his rise back to number one after many thought he was past his prime due to his not getting any younger. But as McEnroe said today: “He’s the youngest looking 30 year old I’ve ever seen.” Federer isn’t showing many signs of aging (if any) and could be back for a record 8th Wimbledon title next year. For now, the greatest player to step on a tennis court returns to his spot atop the throne of tennis and reclaims his title as “King.” Watch out LeBron, there’s a new “King” in town.