Roger Federer turned on a encapsulating display of class to overcome a one set deficit and lift the Wimbledon title for the seventh time. Not only this, the Swiss also commanded a seventeenth Grand Slam title, overall, and reclaimed his spot as World Number One, displacing Novak Djokovic and overcoming Pete Sampras’ record for weeks at Number One.
Andy Murray came on to centre court determined to banish memories of three previous Grand Slam final defeats and to overcome a dismal record of 0 sets claimed during those three finals.
He did just that, commanding the first set with a fast pace, a thunderous backhand and several passing shots Federer seemed unwilling to chase. Murray broke Federer, before breaking himself, but he hung on, despite several wayward first serves.
Perhaps too much was read into this first set –one punctuated with Federer ducking so as to avoid a full-blown Murray stroke to the face –with Murray looking strong and Federer committing a few unforced errors with his own backhand.
It also looked like the second set could go to Murray, as he kept even with the Swiss, who was casually throwing slices at Murray. The pace was taken out of the match somewhat, but Federer was always fit enough to enforce his will whenever the 25-year-old Scot faltered.
This happened in the second set as Murray twice allowed Federer to escape being broken. Instead the iconic star rallied, holding his own serve before reigning Murray in at 6-5. The Scot was 50-15 up, but Federer produced two magical points at the end of the game –including one mesmerizing drop volley –to come back and take the set at 7-5.
Had Murray taken that set to a tie break it could possibly have been different, but as a rain delay forced the players inside at one set each the roof was pulled out. This rendered the conditions irrelevant and reduced the contest to one of pure skill.
A confident Federer looked like this was all he needed.
Gliding into the next set, Federer moved Murray about at will. He consistently held his own serve and, despite losing a few balls off the rim of his racquet in uncharacteristic faults, he cruised to a set victory, even torturing Murray through several deuces on his own serve.
Murray slipped, fell, dived and rolled trying to keep up with his illustrious opponent. He showed grit and determination, but in the closing stages Federer was able to effortlessly chase down cross-court forehands, smash attempted lobs and crush the ball back with his own supreme forehand shot.
He won in four sets, 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4.
Federer wrapped up his first Slam since the Australian Open of 2010, and fell to his backside in delight. In front of his twin toddler daughters, Federer magnanimously told Murray his time would come before humbly accepting that this honor was only a product of never giving up and putting in the hours training, perhaps at the expense of family life.
At Wimbledon there is a new legend etched into the winner’s board. Despite the best efforts of a fiery Scotsman, Roger Federer smashed records and reminded everyone in the game that there is plenty more tennis left in the most successful player to grace a grass court.