I'm not sure if anyone can really identify with the pressure that Andy Murray will be under when he faces Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final on Sunday. Having an entire nation rooting for you against one of the greatest grass court players ever is both comforting and highly intimidating. Expectations have been so high for so long, but on Sunday Murray has a chance to meet and surpass them at last.
This will be the fourth Grand Slam final for Murray in his career. He's made it twice at the Australian Open and once at the U.S. Open. He's yet to win one and every time he comes this close he has to face the constant fact that no British man has won a Grand Slam since 1936. Of course, let's just for the moment remember that when Scotland earns its independence from Great Britain (and it will happen), England can no longer claim Murray as its own.
However, nobody wants to talk about that at such a momentous occasion as this. Murray has never made it this far at Wimbledon, and he is the decided underdog heading into tomorrow's match. Federer is chasing a large part of history himself. A record-tying seventh Wimbledon crown. The number one ranking in the world. Federer has both the hunger of someone who had fallen from grace over the past few years and the confidence of someone who has already had the experience of winning here six times.
How in the world can Murray win? Every point will be breathless for the fans. Every mannerism and grimace by Murray will be endlessly examined. Can he handle Federer's serve? Can he calm his nerves enough to complete a high percentage of his own first serves? What will happen if he goes down a set early? Two sets? Will he start to pout and yell at his box the way he so famously used to do when the pressure got to be too much?
Granted, the Murray of old has yet to make an appearance in 2012. A lot of the credit goes to his coach Ivan Lendl. Lendl has been working on Murray's psyche trying to get him to loosen up more during matches and have some fun. He also has seemingly tried to get Murray to stop playing so defensively all the time and understand that his offensive game is as good as anyone's. That philosophy certainly seemed to help Murray against Djokovic at the Australian Open semi-final. Murray came agonizingly close to pulling off the upset there, and it was a different player who came off the court that day. He took positives from the match instead of being mad.
Murray will need to channel all the positive energy he can muster on Sunday. in order to have any chance, he needs to come out firing and be as aggressive as he can. The crowd will support him no matter what, but they want to see him fighting. If he sits back and lets Federer dictate the pace, he will get picked apart. Murray has the experience of an 8-7 record against Federer, but he's never beaten Federer at a Grand Slam. I believe he can do it if he plays the way he is capable and doesn't let his emotions get the better of him. Tennis fans will get quite a treat no matter what happens on Sunday.
Julie is a featured tennis contributor for the Yahoo Contributor Network. She's been a tennis fan her entire life and Wimbledon is her favorite tournament. She's excited that tennis history will be made on Sunday.
- Sports & Recreation
- Andy Murray
- Roger Federer