Wimbledon: Roger Federer relishes taking on ‘local hero’ Andy Murray
Roger Federer is relishing the prospect of crashing the party when he faces Andy Murray in tomorrow’s Wimbledon final.
• Roger Federer beats Novak Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-3
• Swiss sets up final with either Andy Murray or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Murray ended a 74-year wait for a British man to reach the final at the All England Club with his semi-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but to follow in the footsteps of Fred Perry and win it, Murray must now get the better of the most successful player of all-time.
With 16 grand slam titles, including six at Wimbledon, Federer is seeking a record-equalling seventh major on grass after beating defending champion Novak Djokovic yesterday.
Djokovic had won three of their four most recent major semi-finals en route to landing four of the last six grand slams available, but was dethroned by Federer, losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a meek surrender of his title.
After the first two sets were shared in less than an hour, the match came alive in the third set. Serving at 4-5, Djokovic blazed a smash long at 15-30 to give Federer two set points. Djokovic saved the first with a forehand but Federer seized his chance, winning a sensational 20-stroke rally with a smash to move within a set of the final.
Djokovic could not recover and dropped serve early in the fourth set as Federer rolled to his first final at Wimbledon since he beat Andy Roddick in 2009.
Federer has always been a favourite of the Centre Court crowd, but the 30-year-old may have few supporters against Murray. He accepts he will receive fewer cheers than his opponent, but looks forward to facing the local hero regardless.
“I always say that whatever country I am in, I like to play the local hero and that’s what Andy is here at Wimbledon,” Federer said. “It will be very special to play against him. I’m glad the match has come along. I hope I have some crowd support, but it’s not the most important thing right now.”
Murray is one of the few men on tour to have a winning record against Federer, having won eight of their 15 meetings.
The most vital of those matches came in the 2010 Australian Open final, though, with Federer victorious. But Federer is happy to concede that Murray has managed to outfox him in the past.
“I have a losing record against him and I know how good he is,” he said. “Some finals I’ve beaten him, others I have had tough losses. I remember the losses, particularly when he crushed me in Shanghai and in Toronto.
“But we haven’t played each other much over the last couple of the years because we have often been three and four in the draw and we always ended up in Novak or Rafa Nadal’s hands. One would win, but not usually both. We don’t see each other often, so it is going to be interesting.”
Federer has grown accustomed to life in the spotlight. Such a glare is intensified on Murray during Wimbledon, with his every move, shot and word up for scrutiny. Federer sympathises, believing he pays the price for being the only big-name player in Great Britain.
“It reminds me a bit of Australia because you don’t have the amount of players they have in France or America, so the focus is more on one player, maybe a couple,” Federer said. “What is so particular about this country is that there’s so much attention on that one player, which is Andy Murray. Let’s be happy that he’s such a great player that he lets that sort of hype last.
“He’s only going to get better as time goes by. That’s what he’s been proving and I think he’s handled it (the pressure) very well.”
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