Sunday played host to a rematch of the 2012 Wimbledon final from just a few weeks ago where Roger Federer won his record 17th Grand Slam, leaving his opponent Andy Murray in tears. This match, however, would be different. Playing for his country and a gold medal, Andy Murray took to Centre Court with purpose and with the crowd firmly behind their hometown hero, he produced the most stunning performance of his life.
For his part, Federer was playing for a career golden slam and a second gold medal to add to the most impressive trophy collection in tennis history. His journey to the finals had been anything but an easy ride. The world no. 1 needed three sets to get past Falla in the first round, a tight tie breaker to clinch a win against Isner and a marathon third set to defeat del Potro in the semifinals. In order to stand a chance against the man with home court advantage, Federer would have to sweep the unforced errors and nervous volleys under the rug and return to the form that saw him win Wimbledon one month ago.
But Murray was a man on a mission on Sunday, and regardless of who he was playing he seemed unbeatable. The match started out evenly, with both players holding serve for their first two games. Then, at 2-2 in the first set, Murray went on a streak that he’ll not soon forget. Scoring an incredible 9 games in a row against the world no. 1, he handily took the first set 6-1 and raced to a 5-0 lead in the second set.
Perhaps it was nerves or maybe even the crowd, but Federer had no response. Looking back at the statistics the Swiss actually created nearly the same amount of break point opportunities for himself as his opponent did. The only difference is that he couldn’t convert on any, whilst Murray broke Federer’s serve a remarkable 5 times.
After winning the first two sets handily, Murray had all but won. Despite a bit more of a challenge from Federer in the final set, the Scot was able to sail by to a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory and win a gold medal for Great Britain. Following his mixed doubles match later on that afternoon he said, “It’s worth it. I’ve had a lot of tough losses in my career, but this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I’ll never forget it”.
Federer never gained a foothold in what will most likely be his last chance at a gold medal in singles. However, one could argue that a silver medal attached to a career filled with a record-breaking number of grand slams and weeks at no. 1 is a fairly good consolation prize.
In his post-match interview he remarked, “For me, it’s been a great month. I won Wimbledon, became world number one again, and I got silver. Don’t feel too bad for me”.