Nick Bollettieri: Now you can see why Roger Federer is my all-time No 1
Champion is the complete package – but Murray belongs on the same court
Monday 09 July 2012
Here's a couple of simple statements. Yesterday afternoon on Centre Court, Roger Federer showed why he is the greatest player in the history of the game. Yesterday afternoon on Centre Court, Roger Federer played three of the best sets he has ever produced. Holy cow, this is one magician. Now the No 1 player in the world rankings again, the No 1 player the world's ever seen. Seven Wimbledon titles and – know what? – don't stop counting yet.
What makes the difference with Federer is that he has a bit – actually one hell of a lot – of everything. He's the all-round player. Add that to an intelligence and feel for the game and that's the complete package.
As for Andy Murray, he has proved over the last two weeks that he deserves to belong with the big three. There are four big beasts now. This did a lot for him – he played well yesterday in what was a great, great match. What better way is there for me to sign off at Wimbledon 2012 than by saying it's been a good one, won by the great one?
Murray's flying start
Murray came out exactly how he had to. Nerves? No way, man. He took it to Federer and, boy, that first game will have done wonders for Murray. He mixed his game up and it was Federer who looked out of sorts to start with. In the first two games Federer put four elementary forehands into the net or wide.
Of course, that wasn't going to last. This is Roger Federer we are talking about here, guys, but Murray was matching him, mixing up his game, not getting caught too deep or concentrating on playing defence. When he went behind for the first time in the set he kept cool and served well. It was so tight, that first set, and it came down to a couple of moments – Murray had two break points and took them, Federer had three and made one. Small margins – what it's all about at this level.
But what you have also got to remember is that Federer has taken more than a couple of turns around the block at this level. Take one look at that honours board the players walk by on the way to the court and you see. Look at his record, his 24 Slam finals. He was not going to lie down out there.
I cannot think of anybody who would be so unworried by losing the first set of a Slam final than Federer. This is one unruffled guy. So he comes back out and starts pinging that one-handed backhand. It's one of the best sights seen on a tennis court, the way he stands tall, pirouettes on one leg and guides the ball like a missile with that huge follow-through. It's the racket acceleration that's the key. Man alive, it is a dream.
To make it work you also need the footwork of a dancer, and it is Federer's movement that is such a killer. Murray is a damn good mover too, and that is why he is a contender.
There was another key factor to Federer's recovery. I said at the start of the tournament he would have to look to come in more and, of course, Roger knew that too and, of course, Roger did that. His touch volleying was excellent and the drop volley worked well throughout.
Playing beneath the roof suits Federer as nothing can disturb that immaculate game. His serve, in particular, just starts purring. When that roof slammed shut it was the beginning of the end for Murray. Federer has a commanding record indoors and he was not going to let this one slip. Now he was mixing up his game brilliantly, working Murray around the court, slicing to change the direction of rallies and coming in to finish them off. Clinical.
Making the right call
This tournament has shown the importance of Hawk-Eye – and of getting your challenges right. Don't throw them away, they matter. They are tough calls, when you are down there in the heat of battle. You've got to keep your cool, and nobody does that better than Roger Federer.
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