Wimbledon: Andy Murray’s bold bid fails in face of superb Roger Federer

ANDY Murray’s dream of Wimbledon glory ended in disappointment yesterday as he lost in four sets to another display of brilliance by Roger Federer.

• Federer wins 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4

The Swiss player, who is back at No 1 in the world rankings this morning, won 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to lift his seventh Wimbledon title and further enhance his reputation as the greatest tennis player of all time.

It was a fourth defeat for Murray in four Grand Slam titles following his losses to Federer at the 2008 US Open and to 2010 Australian Open, and to Novak Djokovic in Australia the following year. But this was the first time the Scot had taken a set in a Slam final, and after the match he rightly looked to that fact as a sign of encouragement. “I’m getting closer,” he said in an emotional post-match interview on court, during which he broke into tears several times.

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The final was watched from the Royal Box by First Minister Alex Salmond, Prime Minister David Cameron, David Beckham, the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa Middleton, as well as a number of former tennis champions. There was a capacity crowd of 15,000 on Centre Court, and the majority of them cheered wildly as Murray took the first set, which was played out – a rarity for this Wimbledon fortnight – in bright sunshine.

Neither Murray’s domination nor the good weather lasted. Federer hit back to take the second, and then in the third game of the following set the heavens opened. A 40-minute rain delay was required, and the match resumed under the roof – the first time the men’s final here has been played under it.

Once the roof was closed, nothing could stop Roger Federer from winning his record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title.

The 30-year-old Federer finally equaled Pete Sampras’ record at the All England Club, and won his 17th Grand Slam title overall.

“I’m happy that closing the roof maybe helped me today, because I wasn’t sure if that was going to help me or not,” said Federer, who took advantage of the windless court and won 65 of the 117 points played indoors.

Once Murray’s forehand landed wide on match point, Federer collapsed to the grass with tears welling in his eyes. He got up quickly and shook hands with Murray at the net. Up in the players’ box, Federer’s wife and twin daughters cheered and smiled as he took his seat to await yet another Wimbledon trophy presentation.

“When the roof closed, he played unbelievable tennis,” Murray said.

Federer is now 17-7 in Grand Slam finals, including 7-1 at Wimbledon. Murray dropped to 0-4 in major finals, with three of those losses coming against Federer. “It’s amazing. It equals me with Pete Sampras, who’s my hero,” said Federer, who lost in the quarter-finals at the All England Club in 2010 and 2011. “It just feels amazing.”

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Besides Sampras, 1880s player William Renshaw also won seven Wimbledon titles, but he did it at a time when the defending champion was given a bye into the following year’s final.

Britain has been waiting 76 years for a homegrown men’s champion at the All England Club, and the expectations on Murray were huge. Thousands of fans watched the match on a huge screen on “Murray Mount,” but left the grounds still waiting for a British winner, but proud of Murray’s run to the final, and the grace and humility he displayed during his post-match interview, courtside with the BBC’s Sue Barker.