Andy Murray Olympic Champion
Yesterday Murray partnered Laura Robson in two mixed doubles matches, achieving access to another Olympic final. Today Andy Murray walks on to Wimbledon’s centre court to play the man who last month beat him in the biggest match of his career. Then Murray’s emotion flowed through tears of frustration at losing in his first Wimbledon final. Tears from a man who many had thought lacking the drive and will to win the biggest games in his sport, a man who does not always find cameras easy, who often focuses on the detail of a match when interviewed rather than his emotional responses, regardless of whether he has won or lost. Murray’s heartfelt response in defeat at Wimbledon 2012 revealed what lies beneath the skin of a man who has been playing his sport since the age of five, who at fifteen chose to live in Spain to attain the top quality training and support he believed he needed for his tennis career.
Today we have a replay – Federer versus Murray, centre court – four weeks after the Swiss man won the Wimbledon title for the seventh time. Murray has reached four Grand Slam finals, but has never won. To play for Olympic gold on his home turf is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This time, as never before, the Scottish man has the support of the British behind him. The crowd celebrates every point gained, often breaking in to synchronised shouts of Murray, Murray, Murray....
Four weeks ago Murray took the first set from Federer. Today he does the same, but with a better margin – 6-2. He also seems more at ease than he did in the Wimbledon final – considered, taking the game point by point, not flustered by shots that do not go his way. The second set is even smoother – the toughest game being the third, where Murray saves six break points. He goes on to win this set easily, with a score of 6-1. The crowd, excitement building, can taste victory. This is the stage at which Murray has often broken in the past, losing his edge when the finishing post is in sight. Today is different. This last set is tougher – Federer will not give what is likely his last Olympic match away. Yet Murray will not be defeated again, and claims his prize with an ace, to take the final set 6-4.
Murray’s delight at his win flows from him as he squats, touches the grass where he has at last achieved victory then throws off his wristbands; he climbs through the crowd to reach his family and his support team to share the joy of being the first British male singles Olympic tennis champion since 1908. In Murray’s words, this has been the biggest win of my life.
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