It was meant to be. I saw this one coming from miles away. Of course when Roger won Halle and Nadal lost in the first round I was always gonna back my man, but this was always going to be Murray’s title to win. It just felt right. Murray had lost in the final last year but gave a good account of himself against Roger. It was a positive loss back then I felt. In the preceding two slam finals against Roger he lost in straight sets. In the first one at the 2008 US Open he was totally outplayed 6-2, 7-5, 6-2. The next time they met in a slam was the 2010 Australian Open final where Roger beat him 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(11) in a much closer match. And finally in last year’s Wimbledon final Roger dropped the first set before winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Murray was getting closer all the time and right after Wimbledon his biggest breakthrough yet came at the Olympics, where he beat Roger 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 to win the gold medal.
He was ready for his first slam title which he won after defeating Djokovic in 5 sets in the US Open final. Murray had made the big breakthrough at long last. People had pretty much written him off for good, most of all me. But what we didn’t realize was that he was getting closer all the time. At least at the beginning of 2012 when he called in the services of Lendl I started believing in him. I was at a point in my life where something had to change too, and I had to start believing in myself and others more. So for me it has been a nice story to follow and I can draw parallels to Murray with my own life, because I have made a lot of changes for the better since then myself. Yet if you win one slam it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a permanent threat at slams. There have been other slam winners who never really came close to winning a slam again.
Murray has always been good enough to be right at the top of the sport and be a constant threat at the slams. Roger himself predicted that Murray would win multiple slams, and Roger’s words become true without fail. I didn’t think Murray was a one slam wonder after he defeated the world #1 in the US Open final. In this era slams are hard to come by. No one has ‘fluked’ a slam since the rise of the GOAT. Del Potro is the only guy who won a slam other than the big 4, and that was thoroughly deserved after he beat Fedal on his way to the title. And I believe Del Potro will win more slams as well. Not everyone was convinced that Murray was going to win multiple slams. I’m not sure why. After the US Open he continued his good form at slams when he beat Roger in the final before the final. That match probably took it’s toll on Murray and he succumbed to Djokovic in the title match.
Murray also won Miami. After that it was the clay court season and he didn’t appear interested. Probably he was already thinking about the grass court season and he decided to miss the French Open. It was a wise decision because he could focus all his energies on winning the title that would once and for all convince people that he is the real deal. If winning the US Open was Murray’s big breakthrough, then winning Wimbledon would be the title that firmly puts Murray on the map as one of the great players of our time. There is no doubt that Djokovic is an all time great and Murray has now twice defeated him in a slam final. And this time it wasn’t even close, Murray winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. Djokovic has been the dominant one in the head-to-head up until today. He lead the head-to-head 11-7 and had won 3 of their 4 slam meetings.
Is Murray starting to turn around the head-to-head? Will he keep this up and become #1? Definitely this win will give him a lot of confidence and he may start racking up the slams from here on. He has now achieved the two most difficult things, winning his first slam and winning Wimbledon for Great Britain. From here on the pressure gets considerably less. I can see something similar happen to Murray that happened with Lendl who also lost his first 4 slam finals. It has been a very successful partnership for the two of them and I can see Murray following a similar career trajectory than Lendl. The Djokoray era is now well and truly here. Fedal lost before the 3rd round and Murray just won his 2nd slam. I know you don’t want to hear that the Fedal era is over, but it had to end at some point.
It doesn’t mean they can’t win slams anymore, but Djokoray will be the dominant couple from here on. Djokovic have already been dominating since 2011, and now Murray has joined him. But like I said Fedal will still be there as a big threat to them. As far as the match goes it was pretty boring stuff. It was 40 degrees out there. Just brutal conditions and the rallies were brutal as expected. Murray won the first set and I sensed this was going to be his day. I fell asleep half way through the 2nd set, expecting to wake up in the 4th or 5th set, but when I woke up Murray won match point and it was all over in 3 sets. I definitely expected a much closer match, but it became clear to me that the match against Del Potro had taken a toll on Djokovic, very much like Del Potro took a toll on Roger in the semis of the Olympic Games.
Djokovic was in sparkling form throughout Wimbledon and to go down in straight sets in the final doesn’t make much sense unless the Del Potro match took a toll on him. And from what I hear(surprisingly there are no highlights on Youtube) Djokovic looked flat throughout. In the last game when Murray served for the match he was 0-40 down on his serve which was the only semi-dramatic moment in the match. I hear Djokovic yet again missed an overhead on one of those break back points and he was also breaks up in the 2nd and 3rd sets. Djokovic really has a shocking overhead for a world #1. He missed several against Nadal in the French Open semi or couldn’t put the ball away when he should have. He must have the worst overhead of any #1 ever. But the fact remains he was not himself today, just like Roger was not himself in the Olympics final.
It was a very underwhelming final and I don’t regret falling asleep. The Djokoray rivalry just isn’t very interesting because both are basically defensive base liners. Anyway I am happy for Murray and the whole of Great Britain. It has been a long wait, but Murray will remain a Scotsman. It’s been a great story. This player who everyone thought was a choker and will never have the balls to become a slam winner proved everyone wrong. I hope you all find that as inspiring as I do. Murray taught me not to settle for the limits others set for you and to be totally self determined. The only limits we have are the ones we set for ourselves. And I’m tired of setting limits for myself. It is now only a week before Hamburg starts and I bet you are looking forward. Roger still needs a lot of matches and confidence if he wants to be a serious contender at the US Open.
I’m optimistic about the rest of Roger’s season and the best lies ahead.
Update: Finally found highlights. Crazy last game. I had it wrong in my post. Murray was 40-0 up, not 0-40 down. He wasted 3 match points and then Djokovic had 3 break points of his own. On the final deuce Djokovic again couldn’t put away an overhead and Murray then got it done. Murray almost threw away a 2 set lead at the US Open so he wasn’t gonna go that route again here. Like I said he improves all the time. Lahyani made two shocking calls again. Not sure why they still let him do finals.