I'm a journalist, but I still hold out my rooting interests. And if you couldn't tell, I've been rooting for Andy Murray all tournament.
So when the young Scot won the first set of the Wimbledon title, I casually mentioned on Facebook and Twitter that it looked like those who predicted that Federer would win in straight sets would be wrong.
And then FedEx took control, even dealing with a 40-minute rain delay in the third set, and won his seventh Wimbledon title, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. With the victory, Federer finally tied Pete Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon titles.
Maybe not the crowd favorite Sunday, July 8, Federer looked like he was in his 2006-2007 form, when he would win every Grand Slam except the French. The first two sets looked much more evenly matched than the last two, the shift likely coming when the roof was closed during the rain delay.
"When the roof closed, he played unbelievable tennis," noted Murray. It was true: the score was 4-6, 7-5, 1-1 when the rain suspended play. It was still anyone's match at that point.
Murray slipped and fell twice on the wet grass in the sixth game of the third set, costing him two points and two chances to win a critical game that would end up having ten deuces. He was visibly frustrated about this, slamming down a pair of new sneakers offered to him between sets by an innocent ball boy.
Oh, so it isn't easy playing tennis with a whole country on your back? Murray felt a unique kind of pressure, hard to exactly replicate in a sports scenario. The Olympics come to mind, when athletes play to represent and bring pride to their countries. The World Cup and other national competitions are similar. But being a Brit in a Wimbledon final is as rare as it is pressuring, and while he played well in front of David Beckham, Prime Minister David Cameron, and the entire United Kingdom, Murray just couldn't pull it out in the end, surely disappointing himself more than anyone else.
However, Murray did have positives to take away from the experience. "I played better this time in the final, and that's the main thing," Murray said. "It's not an easy tournament for British players in many ways, but I think I dealt with all of the extra things away from the tournament pretty well, better than maybe I had done in the past."
Federer also had high praise for Murray after the match.
"Murray was playing fantastic. … It's a pity for him of course, but I'm sure he'll win some. He's a great champion and cares deeply about the game," Federer said of Murray. He went on to call Murray's performance in the final "the start of something big."
You could say that Federer's seventh Wimbledon is the start of the end of something big, much bigger than big. In addition to winning his first Grand Slam title since the 2010 Australian Open, Federer has returned to the world No. 1 for the first time since August 2008, leapfrogging both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Federer will hold the No. 1 spot for at least one week, of course, which means that he will pass Pete Sampras' record of 286 weeks at No. 1. It's just one more footnote on a remarkable career, really, but I think it's safe to conclude two things after Sunday's final: It will go down in history as great, and Roger Federer will go down in history as the best to have ever played the game.Adam Zielonka is an up-and-coming sportswriter who currently writes about sports and life for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Adam will begin attending DeSales University in the fall to study communication and sport management. A lifelong sports fan, Adam has followed tennis for a number of years.
Sources: wimbledon.com, espn.com
- Sports & Recreation
- Andy Murray
- Pete Sampras
- Pete Sampras