Strawberries and cream, rain and a British finalist at SW19 (but with one crucial difference this time...)


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The Independent Online

Some things change, some things stay the same.

The fittings are fuschia, the crowds are sipping “No 1. Fruit Cup” (tastes suspiciously like Pimms), but it’s still raining as ever at SW19, and given that no major corporation has yet successfully managed to gain exclusivity over strawberries or cream, they’re still as popular as ever.

But more to the point, it’s Roger Federer vs Andy Murray, in five sets, for the title, on the most illustrious tennis court on the planet. Again.

There is a crucial difference though. Unlike a month ago - was it really only a month ago? - the two men are fighting for a title neither has won before.

It is the only major singles honour, and it is a major honour, that still eludes the great man, and he definitely wants to win it.

The crowds huddled under their umbrellas on Murray Mound think, unsurprisingly, that he can do it.

“This isn’t Wimbledon, this is the Olympics. It’s different,” said Matthew Eaves, drinking a large No. 1 Fruit Cup. “The atmosphere’s so different, and Andy loves it. He’s said so. He’s the favourite in my eyes.”

The atmosphere certainly is different. For all the furore that has surrounded tickets to these Olympics, particularly with regard to ponsors, the tennis tournament has been a raucous affair from the start. Wimbledon, especially on finals day, is a predominantly a day out for the blazerati, the same faces every year. Some of them even cheered for Federer. It will not be so today.

“He’s been superb throughout the tournament. The best player by far. He’s beaten Djokovic. Federer nearly lost in the semis. It’s Andy’s to lose,” said Daphne Hinds, 44. It is the first time she has ever been to Wimbledon. “It’s great,” she said. “Unbelievable.”

So come on Andy. A nation doesn’t necessarily expect, but it certainly hopes. But if it doesn’t quite go to plan, there’s always the mixed doubles later. Straight after the final, he and Laura Robson will take on Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka. “They are also the top seeds,aren’t they,” said Ms Hinds. “But we’ll worry about that later.”