Six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer finds himself in prime position to join record-holders William Renshaw and Pete Sampras, who have won seven Wimbledon titles. If Federer beats Briton Andy Murray on Sunday, he will regain the No1 ranking when the ATP rankings are released the following day.
Murray will have to play out of his skin to overcome a dominant Federer, who has to be ranked as favourite. His scintillating display in the demolition of Novak Djokivic on Friday is too fresh a factor to ignore.
Murray too can be part of history. A win will make him the first British man to win a men’s singles Wimbledon final since Fred Perry in 1936. For the record, the last British man to reach a Wimbledon final is Henry ‘Bunny’ Austin, who lost to American Don Budge 6-1, 6-0, 6-3 in 1938.
“It’s a great challenge for me, but if I play well, I am capable of winning. If we look at Roger’s record here over the past 10 years or so, it has been incredible so the pressure that I would be feeling if it was against somebody else, I guess would be different,” admitted Murray. Murray has shown sheer determination en route to the final. He is rated as one of the best when it comes to return of serve, but he is no slouch when it comes to the serve as his 74 aces indicate. He is fifth in the list of top ace-hitters in the men’s section while Federer occupies ninth position with 59 aces.
Federer is truly Murray’s nemesis. Murray encountered the Swiss on three previous Grand Slam finals and lost all with none of the matches going beyond the third set. Federer will be itching for yet another Grand Slam glory, something he hasn’t experienced since he beat Murray for his 2010 Australian Open final crown.
Head-to-head, Murray leads 8-7, but all those wins came on hard court. Sunday’s finale will be their first grass court encounter. Tennis legend John McEnroe believes Murray has a fair chance.
“He can do it. I think that’s why he hired Ivan Lendl (as coach). This is an opportunity to learn from his mistakes,” said the player-turned commentator. However, Murray is aware that Federer is the holder of 16 Grand Slam titles. His craftsmanship and ability to perform against different opposition is evident. Ask Djokovic, who Federer saw off in style in the semi-finals. “He was unbelievable. He played very well and truly deserves to be back at No1,” admitted Djokovic.
Federer’s approach may centre around his natural game. He will try for an early break which often is his main weapon in the match. He is five years older to Murray, but age is never a factor for Federer. Especially when it is a Grand Slam final.
Over to Centre Court!