Nick Bollettieri: Murray has time on his side and there is much more to come

The Wimbledon Files

Too darn good. Sometimes you just have to raise your hands and say you were beaten by a better man and that's what Andy Murray had to do yesterday.

The Briton gave almost the best of himself – while letting a few, key chances get away – but in all honesty I think that Rafael Nadal's form is just so hot, even a top-level Murray performance would probably not have been good enough.

Before we consider all the positives for Murray going forward, let's consider just how awesome Nadal was yesterday. In the whole first set he made one unforced error. One. That is close to perfection, something rarely seen in our sport. In the third set he made two unforced errors. This is laughably, fantastically brilliant. And in the middle set, Rafa made 11 unforced errors for a total in the match of 14. Murray made 19 in all, spread evenly.

We can talk for hours about Nadal's strengths and they were there for all to see: power, movement, even bending the ball to his will at times. Nadal has seven Slam titles already, he hasn't lost to anyone but the GOAT (Roger Federer) at Wimbledon since 2005, and will probably have eight Slams and a second Wimbledon by sundown tomorrow.

That is the context to understand Murray's performance. Just a few key points made the difference, certainly in the first two sets. In fact, Murray won more points in the second set, 42-41. The crucial break in the first set came from a rare double-fault (nerves?) and a moment of hesitancy, which meant hitting wide and handing Nadal the break. That was the difference in that set.

The difference in the second set for me was at 6-5 to Murray in the breaker, and serving. He put his first one in the net, which was a shame on a day when his serving was generally brilliant. In a point started on the second serve, Murray was punished by a Nadal low, backhand cross-court volley to earn a reprieve at 6- 6.

An unlucky net-cord pass made it 7-6 to Rafa, who then served out. Again, small differences, but hugely significant. Rafa played the big points better, as great champions tend to do.

By the third set, Murray broke but Rafa still had gears to click up through, and when he did, he brought it home. Murray, by now a little deflated (understandably), could hold out no longer.

So, what next for Murray? Good things, surely. He's still in the ascendant, something that can't be said for Federer. Murray is still young, 23, and there are years of Slam opportunities opening up in front of him. He's been a real contender at this Wimbledon, and I see no reason, physical, technical or mental, why he cannot continue to be a contender for years to come.

Winning a Slam is never easy. Think about it: a man as talented as Andy Roddick has just one to his name. Murray will improve for his experiences in the four Slam semis and the two finals. There's much more to come.

Men's Final: Tomas Berdych v Rafael Nadal

Nadal's grace and power will topple Czech

So we've got a brutally consistent baseliner against a monster talent capable of ferocious force. Berdych is the former, of course, standing 6ft 5in tall and in possession of that enormous serve and those pounding, flat groundies. His chance lies in demolition tactics, hoping that his serve never waivers, in which case we'll get tie-breakers, and your big server is generally going to be favoured in breakers.

But Nadal is a different class of opponent. That leftie serve is big in its own right and consistent, and dangerous for all the usual leftie reasons. His movement is absolutely phenomenal. Points that would be winners against any other man on tour cannot be counted as winners against Nadal until his feet have stopped moving in the chase and he hasn't reached it.

For all the brutality of Nadal's strokes, he can also be so, so graceful in the execution of drop shots, either killing points softly but surely or luring opponents in and then hammering a passing shot with savage power. The man is a colossus and if he's fit – and he says his knee his fine – then it will take some incredible performance to overcome him.

This pair have met on 10 previous occasions and Berdych had all three of his wins within their first four meetings in 2005 and 2006. They're the same age – 24 – and while Nadal more than lived up to his youthful billing, Berdych has taken longer to shine. Nadal has won the last six meetings on the trot, however.

Nadal has the big-stage experience, and temperament. Bombs from the baseline will only get Berdych so far. I think they might get him a set, at most, but I take Rafa to cement his position as the world's best player.

Head-to-Head: Tomas Berdych v Rafael Nadal

Czech / Nationality / Spanish

24 / Age / 24

Monaco / Residence / Majorca

2002 / Turned Pro / 2001

Right-handed / Plays / Left-handed

6ft 5in / Height / 6ft 1in

No 13 / World ranking / No 1

5 / Career titles / 40

$6m / Career prize-money / $31.2m

W20 L6 / Wimbledon record / W28 L4

Final (2010) / Wimbledon best / W (2008)

Head-to-head: Nadal leads 7-3

5-2 / Odds / 1-3

Bollettieri's prediction: Nadal in four

News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
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.

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?