This afternoon at Wimbledon, Scotland’s Andy Murray will walk onto the Centre Court to play in his first Wimbledon singles final. But will he become the first British man since Fred Perry to take the title?
This is Murray’s fourth Grand Slam final. In 2008 he lost in the US Open final to Roger Federer. 2010 saw Murray lose in the final of the Australian Open to Federer once more, and the following year he again reached the last two down under but this time was beaten by Novak Djokovic.
Murray’s path through the draw in this year’s Wimbledon tournament has been fairly trouble free.
He started with a straight-sets triumph over former top ten player Nikolay Davydenko, and then beat the big service Czech Ivo Karlovic in four sets. He then beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, again for the loss of just one set in a rain affected match. And a straight sets win over Marin Cilic took him into the quarter finals.
The world number Murray was seeded to meet Rafael Nadal at this stage, but the Spaniard’s early exit from the tournament was a boost for Murray. Instead he faced the sixth ranked David Ferrer of Spain and had to dig deep against a dogged opponent. Murray came through in four sets – three of which went to tie breaks.
In the semi-final Murray’s opponent was world number five Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Another tough four set victory was the result. Murray cruised to a two set lead and looked to have the match won. But the Frenchman came back to take the third, before Murray regained his grip on the match. The relief on his face was obvious as a challenge to a ball originally called out gave him the final point he needed to go through to the final.
So Andy Murray is the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938. But can he become the first to win it since Perry back in 1936? It will be very tough given his opponent is, once again in a major final, Roger Federer.
The Swiss superstar is quite simply one of the greatest players ever to pick up a racket. He has more Grand Slam singles titles to his name than any other man. His record in finals is 16 wins and 7 defeats.
This will be Federer’s eighth Wimbledon singles finals, again a record. He has won six of the previous seven and stands only one behind Pete Sampras for the record number of men’s championships.
Quite simply Murray could not have a tougher opponent. But he will have the crowd behind him and that might just spur him on. If he wins it would be the greatest result in his career to date.
But the brilliant Federer is a better player. There is no denying that fact. And if he plays to his best form he will win. Murray though has a decent record against Federer, winning 8 of their 15 previous matches. Very few players can boast a winning record against him. It is perhaps worth noting though that the two have never met on grass.
Can he do it this time? Can Andy Murray join the illustrious list of those who have won the biggest tennis tournament of them all? The odds are very much against him – but one of the great things about sport is that the favourite doesn’t always win!