Murray turns tears to cheers at Wimbledon
August 12, 2012 13:17 pm
Having suffered so much heartache in the quest for a major title, when it finally arrived for Andy Murray the most startling thing was how easily it came.
Four weeks after the defeat to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final that left him sobbing into a microphone on Centre Court, Murray did not just turn the tables, he kicked them to smithereens to win Olympic gold in the most glorious fashion.
Previously, Federer's worst loss at the All England Club had been his first-round defeat by Mario Ancic in 2002, where he won only 12 games. Against Murray, he managed just seven.
There were mitigating circumstances for Federer, who had played for more than four hours in an epic semi-final win over Juan Martin Del Potro, but there was no doubt Murray won because he played one of the best matches of his life.
His serve was both reliable and a weapon, groundstrokes fizzed off his racquet with a crack, and most importantly neither his concentration nor his belief wavered.
When he came to serve out the biggest win of his life, he sent down an ace to bring up a match point and then another to clinch his 6-2 6-1 6-4 victory.
Murray looked stunned more than delighted, although there was that as well, of course.
And for the 25-year-old the best bit was being able to climb up to his players' box and hug the friends, family and coaching staff who have supported him through all the tough times.
Although it was undoubtedly a complete contrast to Wimbledon, it was also a progression from that match where, for the first time in four grand slam finals, he had done himself justice.
This time he played even better, and when the crucial moments came around - he saved all nine break points he faced - the Scot was the one who came out on top.
The inevitable question now will be whether Murray can turn Olympic gold into grand slam glory, and we do not have long to find out, with the US Open only two weeks away.
Considering Del Potro is the only man other than Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic to win a slam title in 30 attempts dating back to the Australian Open of 2005, Murray's task remains a huge one, but there are chinks in his rivals' armour.
Nadal missed the Olympics with knee problems and may not even be in New York, Djokovic is struggling to rediscover the form of his annus mirabilis in 2011 and Federer must now bounce back from that thrashing by Murray.
The 25-year-old, meanwhile, knows he has beaten Djokovic and Federer back to back when it really mattered.
And for Murray there was the bonus of a silver medal as well as he and Laura Robson embarked on a thrilling run to the mixed doubles final, narrowly losing to top seeds Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi.
Robson did not look out of place despite her opposite number being the world number one, while her singles campaign also showed how quickly the 18-year-old is progressing.
She beat top-30 player Lucie Safarova and then traded blow for blow with eventual finalist Maria Sharapova, coming away disappointed she had not won.
The teenager expects a lot of herself, as does British number one Heather Watson, 20, who was distraught when she also lost in the second round to 14th seed Maria Kirilenko.
The pair will both be at the US Open and hoping for better there, as will Anne Keothavong, who gave a very good account of herself in a tough first-round draw against former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.
There will be no Elena Baltacha, though. The long-time British number one is taking six months out to have ankle surgery and is not sure yet whether she will return. If it does prove to be her last hurrah, it was a fitting stage on which to bow out.
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