Olympic gold: Murray's magical Wimbledon moment
Golden boy ... Andy Murray. Photo: AFP
Finally, Andy Murray has his moment in the sun. The ghost of Fred Perry, Great Britain’s last Wimbledon men’s singles winner in 1936, will remain at the All England Club for him to combat next June. But Murray’s marking of the SW19 turf as his own at the London Olympics can not be taken away from him, even if he does not go on to triumph here again in all-white clobber.
As Britain’s field of dreams spread from the Olympic Park to Wimbledon on Sunday, Murray won the men’s singles gold medal with a crushing 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over Roger Federer - the man against whom he fell in another final on the same court only a month ago.
I have lost some tough matches and had a lot of questions asked about me so I’m just glad that today I managed to put on a performance that I’d been waiting for I guess. All those losses make it extra special. It’s been the best week of my tennis career by a mile
Revenge achieved swiftly and sweetly, he savoured the pleasures that were denied him then, emulating Pat Cash by climbing up to his supporters' box, greeting his mother Judy, in tears, and even acquiescing to an impromptu cuddle from a young lad in the fervent, chanting and Mexican-waving crowd. On the podium Murray then mouthed a few words of the anthem, God Save the Queen, nothing to sniff at given his proud Scottishness.
Thrashed ... Switzerland's Roger Federer. Photo: AFP
He was a whisker away from hearing the tune belted out again but fell just short in the mixed doubles final alongside 18-year-old lefty Laura Robson, with the pair beaten 10-8 in a match-deciding super tiebreaker by top seeds Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi after being split at a set apiece.
However, an Olympic gold and silver medal in his own backyard was not a bad day at the office for a player who at 25 has already endured his fair share of heartache, with four grand slam final defeats and a blank space in the wins column.
"It’s the biggest win of my career for sure ... definitely one of the best matches I’ve played," Murray said of the straight-sets clubbing of Federer, in the midst of which won an incredible nine games in a row against the world No.1.
Victory ... Andy Murray celebrates after defeating Roger Federer to take gold. Photo: Getty Images
"I have lost some tough matches and had a lot of questions asked about me so I’m just glad that today I managed to put on a performance that I’d been waiting for I guess. All those losses make it extra special. It’s been the best week of my tennis career by a mile."
Murray said he had been driven by watching the exploits of other British gold medallists at this Olympics, principally the 10,000 metres winner Mo Farah, whose torturous last-lap sprint won him gold at the Olympic Stadium and left the Scot flabbergasted. Fuelled by Farah's exploits, Murray played the match of his life and Federer, like so many other rival athletes during this tidal wave of British success in London, was collateral damage on ground that as a seven-time Wimbledon champion is meant to be his.
"The way Mo Farah won...I mean I do 400m repetitions in my training and when I’m completely fresh I can run it in 57 seconds and his last lap after 9600m was 53 seconds,’’ Murray said. ‘‘It’s just unbelievable fitness and it gave me a boost. The momentum the team has had the last couple of days, I didn’t expect that.’’
Winner ... Andy Murray hugs girlfriend Kim Sears. Photo: AFP
Murray admitted he had felt less pressure walking out onto Centre Court than he did a month ago in the Wimbledon final and said the lessons learnt in his grand slam final defeats - the others were at the Australian Open in 2010 and 2011 and the US Open in 2008 - had served him well in the Olympic final.
He hopes that will now translate into long-awaited success at the slams, beginning with the upcoming US Open. But even if he could, he said he would not trade his gold medal for any of the sport’s more traditional prizes.
"I would love to win Wimbledon for sure,’’ he said. ‘‘But this feels pretty good and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.’’
Winning smile ... Andy Murray. Photo: AFP
Federer, properly out of sorts in the final, said he had nothing left in the ‘‘emotional’’ tank having scraped past Alejandro Falla in the first round and been pushed to 19-17 in the deciding third set of his semi-final against Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro.
He said he was happy with silver, having won doubles gold for Switzerland in Beijing, but an individual gold medal remains about the only thing Federer does not have in his vast collection.
‘‘Maybe there was already so much emotion out of me that potentially today that kind of hindered me from doing my absolute very best,’’ Federer said. ‘‘But then again that’s trying to come up with some excuses. He was better.’’
Murray's magical Wimbledon moment
Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates victory over Switzerland's Roger Federer to win gold in the men's singles. Photo: Pat Scala
Del Potro claimed bronze in the men’s singles with a 7-6, 6-4 win over Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.