He did it again. At 30 years of age. Roger Federer used his serve and forehand to push away a newly aggressive Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon men's championship, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
With his victory, he reclaims a once-familiar spot: world number 1. And he ties his idol Pete Sampra's record of 7 victories at tennis' premier tournament.
Great Britain will have to wait a 77th year for a homegrown champ on their Centre Court.
Murray's first serve started to disappear as the match progressed, and after rain forced the closure of the roof at Centre Court early in the 3rd set.
In the first set, which he won, he was getting fewer of his first serves in play than Federer was, 58% to 68%. However, when he got it in the box, Murray was more likely to win the point. But he started hitting the tape over and over on his first serves, and by the 4th set, he was getting juse 45% of them in, compared to an impressive 70% for Fed.
This match was a pleasure to watch. These guys threw everything at each other: lobs, drop shots, blistering passing shots, down-the-line winners. In one game, Federer had to hit 3 overheads to put the ball away and win the point. In another, Fed won the game and the second set at net with a backhand drop shot that had more English on it than the green seats at Centre Court.
Another game in the 3rd set went to deuce 10 times before Federer finally broke Murray. Kudos to Murray, who chose not to mutter and sulk.
Federer acknowledged Murray's effort in his on court remarks to Sue Barker of the BBC:
"He cares so dearly about tennis and this tournament," said Fed. "He'll at least win one Grand Slam. This is my hope for Andy."
He'll at least win one Grand Slam. This is my hope for Andy."
Always confident in his abilities, Federer seemed unsurprised that he was clutching the trophy again.
"It feels nice! Like it's never left me."
Murray hasn't had a chance to feel that championship hardware in his hands. This is now his 4th Slam in which he's been the bridesmaid and not the bride. At least this time, though, he won a set.
"I"m getting closer," a choked-up Murray told the crowd. His voice broke as he thanked them for their support. "Everybody always talks about the pressure of playing at Wimbledon, how tough it is. It's not the people watching. They make it so much easier to play."