It was not meant to be this way though. The stars had aligned, on the year of the Queen’s jubilee, Britain would finally have their first Wimbledon winner of the Open era. A pariah of sorts, Murray has often been ridiculed for his dour demeanor, but over the two weeks at SW19 he received unwavering support from the local crowd - quick to dust off the ol’ Union Jack and proclaim him as one of their own. That he is in fact Scottish seemed to be lost amongst the hype of Team GB and the upcoming Olympics. On Sunday though Murray spent much of his time staring up at the clouds, and later the roof, pleading with the gods as he attempted to win his first major title. It is hard to believe that he has yet to taste major glory, something that can only be contributed to the man on the other side of the net. A gangly figure, Murray lopes around the court like a young antelope, his play sometimes unsightly and at others quite breathtaking. The latter was on hand for all to see during the first set as he went toe-to-toe with the greatest in the cathedral of Centre Court. In his three previous major finals he had failed to pick up a set – on Sunday he did it at his first time of asking. Unfortunately that was as good as it would get for the wiry Scot, for it was the unflappable Swiss that then took centre stage.
You only have to look at set-point in the second set to discern what I am talking about. The point was sealed with a delicious backhand sliced drop volley, but it was how he constructed that point that enabled him to play that sumptuous winner. After trading blows with Murray for 14 shots, Federer forced Murray wide with a crosscourt forehand that left his racket at an almost unimaginable angle, landing in only thanks to the ludicrous amount of spin that he had inflicted on the ball. Having played the game, these are moments are all the more intense as you attempt to fathom the impossibility of what you just saw him do. He then followed this up with a crosscourt backhand that had Murray scrambling across to the ad-side of the court. Murray, ever the scrapper, managed to slice a backhand back across the net, but it was to no avail as Federer followed the ball in and showed all the deftness of touch and finesse that we have come to expect from him and the set was his. The commentator, let out a chuckle of disbelief before proclaiming, “You’re joking me!”. Murray’s riposte was in a similar vein. It was at that moment that you knew that it was all but over for the plucky Scot.
The rain came, and the closing of the roof hammered a few more nails in Murray’s coffin. It was then that Federer shifted gears and really treated the partisan crowd to a masterclass. His ball striking moved up another level, as if that was even possible and his return of serve shadowed even Agassi for ruthless efficiency. As Murray wilted, Federer upped the ante, skipping around his backhand before unleashing thundering forehand after thundering forehand that had Murray on the flat of his back on numerous occasions. At 3-2 in the third they played out a 20 minute, 26 point game which Federer won with his sixth break point. Federer lost only five points on his serve in that set, with the dolphin like leap back in his step. The third set was headed only one way so Fed decided to enjoy himself, whipping out some quite exquisite shots that had Murray cursing the gods and perhaps even his own mother for having him 5 years too soon.
In the end as a Murray forehand drifted wide, you knew that you had just witnessed the greatest in action. Having matched “Pistol” Pete Sampras’ record at Wimbledon, he returns to the top of the world once again – but isn’t that where he’s always been? It’s well documented that he had gone two and a half years without a major trophy, but we forget how close he has been. Had it not been for a freakish return from Djokovic at last year’s US Open, he may have been even closer to 20 titles.
Commodore Vegas watches a lot of sport and then writes about it. It's a compulsion, and he needs help desperately. You can follow him on Twitter here. Or you could just leave your comments below and let him know what you think.