In his first career Wimbledon final, Andy Murray put on his best effort thus far in a Grand Slam final. Today, Murray lost to Roger Federer in four sets to the disappointment of many British fans, but the 25-year-old played well and managed to do a lot of things right.
Murray was trying to become the first Brit to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. And early on Murray was the better player until late in the second set when Federer denied the Scot on two break chances that would have allowed his to serve for a two-set lead. Federer won the second and once the roof was closed due to rain, Murray wasn’t able to recover.
Murray has now lost his first four Grand Slam finals, three of them to Federer. His coach, Ivan Lendl, suffered the same fate, but then finished with eight Slam titles to his name.
A disheartened Murray, who broke down in tears after the match, spoke to the press:
Q. Does this one, now that it’s over, feel any different than the other ones? How did it feel inside?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, it’s tough. Every one has been different ways. You know, today’s pretty hard because, you know, you’re playing in front of, you know, a crowd like that. You’re playing in front of ‑‑ you know, your family’s there, as well, like your whole family has come to watch.
So, yeah, it’s tough.
Q. Clearly very emotional. Can you take consolation from the way you played?
ANDY MURRAY: I mean, I’d be playing I guess probably the wrong sport if I wasn’t emotional. I mean, I thought I played a pretty good match. A lot of close shots, a lot of close games, a lot of breakpoints here and there.
You know, he played very, very well the last two sets especially. You know, when the roof closed he played unbelievable tennis.
Q. What was it like, the roar when you came out on court for the first time? It was amazing.
ANDY MURRAY: It was great. The atmosphere was unbelievable, one of the best I’ve played in. Yeah, that’s really all I can say on that. The atmosphere was great. The support was great. You know, I hope it was a good match, even though obviously I lost. I hope everyone enjoyed it.
Q. After all that’s happened this fortnight, how much closer do you feel to achieving your ultimate goal?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. You know, it’s tough to kind of assess after you’ve just come off the court.
I’d say that’s the best I’ve played in a slam final. You know, I created chances. Obviously went up a set. You know, it was a long match. You know, even the last two sets, I still had chances the game where I got broken in the third set. It was a very, very long game. I had a lot of game points.
It wasn’t like I gave away bad games or stupid games and stuff. I played a good match. I made pretty good decisions for the most part, so I’m happy with that.
I felt more comfortable this morning and before the match than I had done maybe in the previous slams.
Q. How do you feel the rain break and playing under the roof changed the dynamics of the match?
ANDY MURRAY: Of course it changed it a bit. The way the court plays is a bit different. I think he served very well when the roof closed. He served better. I think he’s not lost an indoor match since 2010, so he plays well under the roof.
Q. The game in the third set that went on for so long, the 19‑minute one with 10 or 11 deuces, could you speak about the fortitude it took to stay in that game and then the challenge of letting it go and moving on?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it was tough because both of us had chances. There were breakpoints and game points obviously. I guess that was the longest game of the match.
Yeah, it was tough, a tough game to lose. But, you know, I wasn’t disappointed necessarily with the way I played in that game. Yeah, it was a frustrating game to lose, but I still had chances after that.
Q. Do you feel that your performance was affected by the fall that you had?
ANDY MURRAY: No. No, I don’t think so.
Q. I appreciate it’s difficult for you to assess someone else at the moment, but given that Roger is back at No. 1 in the world, still winning Grand Slams in record numbers when his greatest rivals are at the peak of their careers, do you think Roger will ever be elevated in the discussion of perhaps the greatest athlete in history, alongside the Pele’s and Ali’s, or what more would he need to do?
ANDY MURRAY: He’s up there. Rafa, as well, for me is up there in that conversation, as well. Both of them have been, I mean, yeah, unbelievable athletes. They’ve been great for the sport.
And, yeah, he’s still playing amazing tennis. You know, a lot of people, yeah, have been asking me, Has he started slipping? Is he not playing as well? If you look at the matches he lost the last couple years, very, very close matches, matches he definitely could have won.
You know, he could be sitting on 20 Grand Slams if one point or a couple inches here or there. So he’s still playing great tennis. I don’t think you get to No. 1 unless you deserve it.
Yeah, it’s a great, great week for him.
Q. You’ve been asked this many times. Obviously this fortnight, especially the last couple days, have taken the excitement of all of Britain to a new level. Can you talk about that achievement and what it’s like to be the driving force of that? Do you ever wish you were just another Spaniard?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, yeah, I don’t want to speak for any of the people in here, but I know from what I’ve been getting told, some of the stories the journalists have had to write the last few days have been, you know, some of the biggest for them maybe in their career. They’re getting huge spaces in the newspapers, which maybe tennis doesn’t always get in this country.
So I think, I mean, it’s been a great, great couple of weeks. I think everyone has handled it very well. From what I’ve been told, the reaction of all of the press and all of the people that have been watching has been unbelievably supportive and positive.
So it’s been a great tournament I think for tennis, and I’m glad that I’m part of that.
Q. As disappointing as this is for you, what’s the best that you take out of this entire experience to follow up on what you just talked about?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, I played better this time in the final, and that’s the main thing. It’s not an easy tournament for British players in many ways, but I think I dealt with all of the extra things away from the tournament pretty well ‑ better than maybe I had done in the past.
Yeah, it was my first time in a Wimbledon final. I’d never been there before. I played three semis beforehand. So I’m still improving, still playing better tennis, trying to improve, which is all I can do.
Q. A couple days ago you talked about your quest in relationship to that of LeBron James to win an NBA championship. He last night was tweeting, thanking you for the shout out, that he would see you in London at the Olympics. I wonder if either you’d heard from him directly or what kind of ongoing inspiration you might have from that?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, I heard about the tweet. I haven’t been on Twitter for a number of weeks now. Yeah, I heard about it and just asked my management company if they could thank him for saying that.
Stories like that, yeah, to me are inspiring. Kind of gives you that extra bit of belief. You know, sometimes guys have taken much longer, you know, than others. I think he said after he lost in the NBA Finals last year, he said that he’s having to go through a lot of nightmares before he reaches his dream.
To me, I think I’m in a similar situation right now. Yeah, it doesn’t get easier. When you lose, it’s hard, it’s tough to take, but you need to try and show strength of character to come back from it. Hopefully one day you get there.
Q. What did Roger say to you on the court after your speech? You seemed to laugh there.
ANDY MURRAY: No, I just said to him, Sorry. I didn’t obviously want that to happen. You feel like you’re kind of attention‑seeking or something. It was not like that at all. And I knew it before, because they asked me if I wanted to do the interview. I knew it was going to be hard ’cause I just felt it.
So before I went I don’t know if I wanted to do it, but I tried. I’ve seen Roger do the same thing a couple times before, so he kind of knows what it’s like. Yeah, he said that, you know ‑‑ he just laughed. He said, This is meant to be the easy part, doing the speeches after the match. But sometimes it feels quite hard compared with playing a tennis match.
Q. A lot of commentators were saying before this match that this was your best chance ever. Do you feel like that was the case? What can you say to people who maybe think that chance is gone for you?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, the chance is gone. I can’t take today’s match back, obviously.
But was it my best chance? I don’t know. It was first time being in a final. You know, it was good to get there. I lost to a guy that’s now won this tournament seven times and is No. 1 in the world. So if that’s your best chance, then…
We’re talking about one of the greatest athletes of all time here, like we’re saying. Got to put it in context a little bit.
Q. You mentioned the special atmosphere on court. Do you have a message for the fans who camped out in the rain last night just to get grounds passes? That’s devotion, isn’t it?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it is, like I said on the court. You know, a lot of the stuff that is said over this period, you know, about there being so much pressure and stuff, it makes such a difference like when you’re on the court and you have, you know, the support behind you and know that all of the people that are kind of in there are wishing you well and wanting you to win.
And, yeah, it’s been amazing. They’re certainly not the ones that make it hard, you know, to play. They make it much, much easier, you know. When you have a crowd like that behind you, it’s a lot easier to play.
Yeah, thanks for the dedication. Sorry I couldn’t do it for them.
Q. The emotion you showed on the court at the end shows how desperate you were to get there in the end.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, I mean, ‘desperate’ is maybe the wrong word to use. But, yeah, it’s something that I worked very hard towards. I try, like I say, always to improve. I try and work as hard as I can.
You know, I try and have the right people around me, you know, to give me the best chance of doing that. Make quite a few sacrifices throughout the year.
Yeah, it means a lot to me.
Q. Roger dropped the first set, struggled in the second, and he turned the match around. The roof may have been a factor. Did you also pick up any changes in his approach, his tactics? Can you talk more generally about Roger as an opponent in terms of problem solving, dealing with what his opponent is doing.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, when we came out after the break he was more aggressive on my serve. I maybe didn’t serve as well under the roof as I did the first couple of sets.
And, yeah, the second set had some chances and didn’t quite get them. You know, often what happens is matches change over a couple of points here and there. You know, maybe if I got the break in the second set it could have been different, or not got broken at 30‑Love up at 6‑5.
But, yeah, after the break he was a bit more aggressive. And I think because he has excellent timing, so when, you know, there’s no wind or anything under the roof, he times the ball very, very well. He was able to go for his shots a bit more. Felt a bit more secure probably.
Q. How long will you take off now and when do you plan to start practicing?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. Until my mind is right. There’s no point in going on the court until I’m ready to go out there and learn and work hard and do the right things in the gym and in practice because there’s just no point.
So I’ll wait and see how my body recovers after the next few days. I fell a lot of times this tournament. I got a lot of bruises all over my body and stuff. So I need to take a few days off, let everything heal, recover, and then see.
But I won’t be on the court next week, that’s for sure.
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