ANDY Murray was asked last night what he thought Fred Perry might say to him if Britain’s last Wimbledon champion was alive today. Deadpan, Murray replied: “He’d probably ask ‘Why are you not wearing my kit’.”
It was a jocular moment at the end of a long night with another long day to come tomorrow as Murray plays in his second successive Wimbledon final, his second chance to emulate Perry who, as the world knows, was the last Briton to take the men’s title here away back in 1936. History beckons, but what a night this was for Murray, who spoke about how different his feelings are this year compared to last year. “It was the first time I’d been to the final, so there was a mixture of emotions,” he said. “I was very relieved to be there after the semis last year, whereas this year it wasn’t so much of a release. There was a lot of tension last year but this wasn’t quite the same. I’ve got to this position before where last time it was completely new to me.
“I think I’m in a better place mentally. You know, I would hope so just because I have been there before. I won a grand slam. I would hope that I would be a little bit calmer going into Sunday. But you don’t know. You don’t decide that. I might wake up on Sunday and be unbelievably nervous, more nervous than I have been before. But I wouldn’t expect to be.”
Murray said he was angry, if only for a little while, that the roof was closed after the third set of his semi-final last night. He came out for the fourth after a short break and finished the job against Jerzy Janowicz. Asked of his great opponent, Novak Djokovic, Murray said there are some similarities between them now. “I mean, both of us return well. That’s probably the strongest part of our games. Both play predominantly from the baseline. We both move well, but it’s a different sort of movement. He’s extremely flexible and he slides into shots – even on the courts here. He slides more. He’s quite a bit lighter than me. So I’d say I probably move with more power and he’s more flexible.”
There is a key difference, though. Murray has beaten Djokovic on grass and Djokovic has not beaten Murray. “He’s won Wimbledon before and he’s obviously in the final again, so he has a very good record on the grass. I don’t think the surface gives me an advantage, no.”
Djokovic has said that he keeps calm before matches by meditating. There’s a Buddhist temple in Wimbledon that he visits, it would seem. Asked what he does to stay at ease before huge matches like this, Murray was again deadpan in his humour. “I watch TV comedy,” he said. “I don’t go to a temple.” Plenty among his vast support will be praying nonetheless.