Death of a dream: Champion Roger Federer leaves crying game to Andy Murray

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

'Getting closer,' says beaten Briton after blistering start is overturned by Swiss maestro to win seventh Wimbledon title 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4

Wimbledon

As an emotional Andy Murray fought back the tears after his defeat to Roger Federer in the men's singles final here yesterday, he might have recalled the words he found in similar circumstances after the Australian Open final two years ago. "I can cry like Roger," Murray had told the crowd in his post-match interview in Melbourne. "It's just a shame I can't play like him."

Click HERE to view 'Men's Singles finals in numbers' graphic

 

There was certainly no shame in losing 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 to the greatest player who has ever wielded a tennis racket, but for Murray this defeat was clearly the hardest of all his four losses in Grand Slam finals to take. Although the 25-year-old Scot contributed hugely to a final of the highest quality, he was ultimately outplayed as the 30-year-old Federer joined William Renshaw and Pete Sampras as the only men who have won the All England Club title seven times.

Britain had waited 74 years for a home player to make it to the final of the men's singles here. When Murray took the first set – the first he had won in a Grand Slam final after three straight-sets defeats – and had the edge for much of the second, it seemed that he might just be on course to become the first British champion since Fred Perry in 1936.

Federer, however, responded magnificently and played especially well after the roof was closed because of rain early in the third set. In claiming his first Grand Slam title for two and a half years, he also took back the world No 1 ranking and became the first thirtysomething to win a Grand Slam title for nine years.

At the end the emotion was too much for Murray. In an on-court interview the only words he could manage at first were: "Getting closer". Fighting in vain to hold back the tears, Murray took the microphone and said: "I'm going to try this and it's not going to be easy."

Having again taken time to compose himself, Murray said: "I was getting asked the other day after I'd won my semi-final whether this was my best chance. Roger's 30 now – and he's not a bad 30-year-old. He played a great tournament. I know he had some struggles with his back early on, but he showed what fight he has left in him. So congratulations. You deserve it."

Murray's mother, Judy, and his girlfriend, Kim Sears, were also in tears as the Scot thanked his team and the crowd before going over to Federer, who put his arm around him. Murray apologised, saying he had not wanted to draw attention to himself and away from the Swiss. "He laughed," Murray said later. "He said: 'This is meant to be the easy part, doing the speeches afterwards, but sometimes it feels quite hard compared with playing a tennis match'."

Asked later about how emotional he had been on court, Murray said: "I guess I'd probably be playing the wrong sport if I wasn't emotional. I thought I played a pretty good match. A lot of close shots, a lot of close games, a lot of break points here and there. He played very, very well, the last two sets especially. When the roof closed he played unbelievable tennis."

The Wimbledon public has not always got behind Murray in the way they used to support Tim Henman, but the support for the world No 4 could hardly have been better. From the moment he walked on court the home crowd cheered him to the rafters.

"It makes such a difference when you're on the court and you have the support behind you and know that all of the people in there are wishing you well and wanting you to win," Murray said. "It's been amazing. They're certainly not the ones that make it hard to play here. They make it much, much easier. When you have a crowd like that behind you, it's a lot easier to play. Yes, thanks for the dedication. I'm sorry I couldn't do it for them."

The crowd had been swelled by royalty, politicians, major sporting figures and celebrities alike. The Queen, who has visited the All England Club only once since Virginia Wade was the last Briton of either sex to win the singles title here in 1977, was not present, but there was a large contingent of royals in the box, including the Duchess of Cambridge, accompanied by her sister, Pippa Middleton.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Boris Johnson and Alex Salmond were also there, along with Sir Steve Redgrave, David and Victoria Beckham and former Wimbledon champions in Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Stan Smith, Manuel Santana, Jan Kodes, Ashley Cooper and Neale Fraser.

The home contingent at least had come in the hope of watching Murray join the list of great names who have won here, but in the end they could only salute what has been a remarkable comeback by Federer, who is the first man to have played in eight Wimbledon finals and extended his own tally of Grand Slam singles titles to 17. He lost the world No 1 spot more than two years ago, but in seven days' time he will break Sampras's record of 286 weeks at the top of the rankings.

Murray said: "He's still playing amazing tennis. A lot of people have been asking me: 'Has he started slipping? Is he not playing as well?' If you look at the matches he lost in the last couple of years, they were very, very close matches, matches he definitely could have won. He could be sitting on 20 Grand Slams but for one point or a couple of inches here or there. He's still playing great tennis. I don't think you get to No 1 unless you deserve it."

Federer said: "I know how big the occasion was for Andy and myself. I'm happy I got a victory today, but obviously it was very, very special."

Murray said he had felt more comfortable going into the match than he had in his three previous Grand Slam finals. "I'd say that's the best I've played in a Slam final," he said. "I created chances. I went up a set. It was a long match. Even the last two sets, I still had chances."

He added: "It wasn't like I gave away bad games or stupid games. I played a good match. I made pretty good decisions for the most part, so I'm happy with that."

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
Travel
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments