Murray Loses Wimbledon Final, but Gains New Fans
Andy Murray lost in four sets to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon tennis final yesterday, but his performance and post-match interview gained him millions of new fans in Britain. Meanwhile, Federer confirmed himself as one of, if not the, greatest player of all time, equalling Pete Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon titles and returning to number 1 in the rankings.
Murray Making History
As the number four in the world, Murray had already appeared in three other Grand Slam finals, though hadn't won even a single set in any of them. However, after reaching the semis at Wimbledon each of the previous three years, he eventually made it to the final after beating Frenchman Tsonga on Friday.
Amazingly, this was the first time a British man had reached the final of the London tennis tournament since 1938- a huge 74 year wait. However, up against Murray was the most successful man ever to have played the sport- Roger Federer. Murray started well, breaking his opponent in the very first game, before going on to win the first set 6-4. The joy was short-lived though, as he lost the next three sets.
One factor that did go against Murray was the British weather. Though the match started in bright sunshine, inevitably rain soon swept in, forcing the Centre Court roof to be closed mid-way through the third set. Whilst Federer is imperious on outdoor grass courts, he is almost unbeatable on indoor courts, and after a 40-minute rain delay, he came out playing some unbelievable tennis that Murray simply had no answer to.
Gaining New Fans
Despite being Britain's most successful tennis player in decades, Murray has never quite won over the British public to the same extent that the less successful Tim Henman, for example, did. Various reasons for this are put forward, ranging from him showing a lack of emotion, to the idea that he doesn't appreciate his fans.
However, all this was blown away in 2 minutes of post-match interview. After Murray had collected his runner-up trophy, he was called over for an on-court interview. The 15,000 members of the crowd were on their feet cheering for over a minute. A visibly emotional Murray then struggled to get a single word out before breaking down completely. With tears rolling down his cheeks, he joked: "I'm getting closer", before paying tribute to his supporters:
"Everybody always talks about the pressure of playing at Wimbledon and how tough it is. It's not the people watching, they make it so much easier to play. The support's been incredible. So, thank you."
By the end of the emotional speech there was barely a dry eye in the crowd, whilst millions of viewers at home saw a whole new side to the player. In the space of less than five minutes Murray's odds for British Sports Personality of the Year dropped from 16-1 to 5-1. You can see why below:
As is traditional, there were a whole host of celebrity faces in the crowd to watch the pinnacle of British tennis. The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was sat next to her sister Pippa, Prime Minister David Cameron was in front of London Mayor Boris Johnson, whilst David and Victoria Beckham sat hand in hand. They were just a few of a dozens of celebrities who added that extra glamour to the day.
Ultimately, though Murray lost, he gained the admiration and support of millions of people in a way he never could have if he'd won. He also lost to a true gentleman and tennis legend, who can surely now be called the greatest ever. The whole day turned into an ode to Britishness- a sporting event attended by a crowd dressed in suits, which was then delayed by rain, before ending with a glorious British defeat.