LONDON – Roger Federer’s three-set demolition of Andy Murray at Wimbledon on Friday gave a succinct answer to those who question why the Swiss continues to play deep into his thirties when he has already won everything the game has to offer.
Federer will appear in his 26th Grand Slam final (17-8), looking to extend his men’s record to 18 wins.
“Being No. 1 of the world was always the dream, kind of a goal and ambition that I had when I was younger”, Djokovic said.
“It’s just still an extremely tough time to win these major events because the guys that are around are phenomenal tennis players”. We’ve been both been there before.
“That’s something I don’t remember really having, except maybe on one of the wins I’ve had here”.
A shattered Murray, asked if he would come to the All England Club to watch brother Jamie’s Mens Doubles final this afternoon, said: “I may come and watch the last game or two”. As the great British sports writer Simon Barnes has observed of Federer, “I doubt if any athlete has ever exploited serenity to the same devastating effect”. There’s not enough praises for what he does.
“This is where (Federer) loves to play”.
The Centre Court crowd appeared unusually split in loyalties given a Brit was on his show, such is Federer’s unrivalled status at SW19, and they were treated to some glorious tennis in the opening stages.
After Murray’s crash exit last night, you might not be able to stomach the thought of the Wimbledon final. It’s his court. He loves it. He usually rises up to the occasion.
Djokovic can win his third Wimbledon title, after winning the title in 2011 and 2014, joining John McEnroe and his current coach Boris Becker in fourth place in the Open era. “It’s the most important match that any tennis player can have”, Djokovic said.
A win on Sunday would break the tie of seven Wimbledon titles he shares with Pete Sampras and which he levelled with his most recent Slam, the 2012 All England Club crown. I really didn’t have any opportunities and then the pressure builds throughout the match.
Federer extended his career record against Murray to 13-11, including 5-1 in Grand Slams.
Federer has also now won all 10 semi-finals in which he has appeared at Wimbledon.
“I don’t know if it’s the best I’ve played in a loss or not”, Murray said Friday. It’s tough to know. In fact, American men’s players have been conspicuously absent from the list of Wimbledon champions for more than a decade.
But a vintage Federer got the break he needed two games later, converting on his sixth set point with an easy forehand volley victor after yet another hotly contested point.
This one afternoon, he was simply the better man, thriving off his lights-out first serve – 58 of 69 points scored – and then his second serve averaging 100 m.p.h., 20 aces in the match, and stalking the net. Its probably going to be the biggest challenge I can have.
Federer smacked untouchable serves of 125 miles per hour, but also took off the pace and hit the lines with well-placed deliveries.
“It’s frustrating, obviously, when you’re out there because I couldn’t get a racket on a lot of the returns”, Murray said.
Had Murray somehow managed to steal that set, seven-times Wimbledon victor Federer may have suffered some inner doubts but before he even had time to catch breath, he was serving again at 5-6 and the Swiss pounced, winning a sensational 18-stroke rally.
The Serbian will be wary of Federer exacting revenge this time around, however, given the 17-time major champion’s scintillating form in the tournament so far, which saw him crush Andy Murray in straight sets on Friday.
Momentarily, it felt significant when Murray took that game, and the fans got their loudest.