Up a set and two points away from forcing a second set tiebreaker against a clearly rattled player, it may have been plausible (finally) to fathom that Andy Murray’s golden moment had arrived.
His first Major, special enough as it would be, more special given that it would be at Wimbledon, coached by a man who also waited a while for his golden moment and who never captured Wimbledon.
It would have been a victory for nearly everyone: Murray, for finally winning one, Lendl, for not only taking Murray to the title, but seeing a protégée winning the only Major he could not, the British public, for being forced to wait in the rasping rain all these years for feeble hope and to finally talk about a Brit not named Fred Perry in relation to Wimbledon and success, tennis fans, the excitement at seeing someone other than the usual 3 winning the biggest tournaments.
Roger Federer had other ideas. This article analyses the 2012 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final, which Federer won in four close sets (4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4). Labelled images to guide text explanation and videos are included. The analysis, on top of explaining and understanding this match, aims to look at:
How did the match turn around? How did it go from Murray winning to Federer winning?
How did the players match up? Was this match similar to past matches between these two?
What are the implications of this match?
Do the match statistics tell us anything noteworthy?
Also two slightly unrelated points, but intriguing to discuss in the given context:
How many more will Federer win?
Will Murray win one?
We begin by (briefly) looking at how the players had performed leading up to this match.
Federer had volleyed poorly leading up to the final, against Benneteau his volleying almost cost him the match. In that match Federer showed good and bad; his calm and cool mindset winning him the match, yet he could not consolidate a break of serve at a very crucial moment, his groundstrokes and serve fluctuating between excellent and awful through out.
Against Youzhny, Ramos and Fognini, we saw that merely attempting to rally with Federer would be hopeless; Federer avoided lengthy baseline exchanges by varying his play, being aggressive with his ground strokes and taking his opponent away from the baseline, his short backhand slice a common weapon of choice.
Against Djokovic and Benneteau, he faced players whom not only had huge firepower on both wings (forcing Federer to compete in baseline exchange) but with variety and big serves. Malisse did not vary his game yet his big forehand and big serve troubled Federer.
Big hitting, big serving and variety confused Federer, he lost his proactive style and reacted to the opponent imposing his own game.
How could Federer escape? Serve well. Murray would need to serve exceptionally well, hit huge forehands and be comfortable at the net as Federer would take him away from the baseline.
Federer prefers indoors to outdoors (or so the statistics say) due to having less interference from the weather and logistics being in his favour. As he says himself here, wind makes the match less based on tactics and more based on effort (i.e. getting the ball in and not making errors), The grim, windy conditions early on would have appealed to Murray as Federer would not be fully comfortable, even so, Federer is an excellent wind player.
Murray’s entrance to the final was Murray-esque; totally unpredictable. Superb against Dayvdenko, struggled slightly against Karlovic and Baghdatis; two players who have fire-power and pro-active styles. Karlovic’s height and physique make him play only the most aggressive way possible and Baghdatis plays better when he is aggressive yet lacks the consistency (and at times, calmness) to win matches in this manner. Karlovic and Baghdatis are two different players in how they play – but both take time away from their opponent (especially on their own service games) and have good experience and maturity in how to use tactics. Baghdatis has been around the tour for a while and has victories over Federer and Nadal whist Karlovic is similar.
Against Cilic, a player who does not posses much maturity or tactical ability, Murray had an easier match.
An incredibly hard-fought victory over David Ferrer followed by a superb performance against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga showed that Murray was attacking better than ever yet struggled against players who had good tactical ability. Karlovic does not have the movement of Ferrer, Ferrer does not have the serve of Karlovic and neither posses Baghdatis’s groundstrokes, yet all three are tactically intelligent players who can (most of the time) play with a calm head and not get down when their opponent is on a roll.
Murray’s biggest problem in Majors has been facing these players who can overcome Murray playing well for a set or two by not being so determined on the short-term and taking time to appreciate the longevity of the match and being able to alter tactics.
Bennetaeau said afterwards in his interview after his loss that Federer has this ability.
Against Tsonga he attacked well with the forehand and served bombs during important moments; good preparation for facing Federer. Murray did not face great returners on his path nor did he face players with great recovery shots, i.e. players who could get themselves out of a defensive position in a rally.
The one opponent who was great at returning and had great recovery shots was Ferrer and Murray found him very difficult to put away.
How Murray would react to someone with more variety than himself or how he would react to someone who could find solutions to Murray being aggressive was not asked, instead, the questions were placed on how technically well Murray was playing; aces, percentage of first serves, second serves won, etc.
Wwe are so determined to understand every technical detail when previewing matches we forget the mind controls how well the player performs.
Momentum and Anticipation
Murray’s early intentions were clear: big serving, aggressive down the line backhands and big cross-court forehands. Federer talked about approaching the match with a specific game plan yet in previous matches he gave Murray different looks early on before dedicating to a specific game plan.
Federer’s early mood was broken, now the goal was not to see how Murray would react early on but to recover the break. He thought less – just get the break back by playing aggressive, nothing more (in the short term). He built momentum from this, he not only broke but had break points to go up a break. Had Federer taken one of those break points, with momentum on his side it is highly likely he would have taken the first set.
Murray stayed in the first set (and won it) with big, consistent serving, disrupting Federer’s rhythm, giving himself momentum and free points (this carried into the second set). The patterns which emerged for the rest of this match came as a result of Federer’s early momentum and how he responded to Murray’s aggression after breaking back.
Whatever Federer’s early game plan was, when he broke Murray back the game plan he induced would be the one he used for the rest of the match, the consistency lacked initially, as the match grew so did the success of his plan.
Federer’s Response to Murray’s Forehand
Ivan Lendl possessed one of the best forehands in the ATP Tour. Murray certainly doesn’t naturally have a forehand like Federer’s or Lendl’s. Lendl and Murray have worked on this stroke, during the 2012 Australian Open Semi Final (Murray vs Djokovic) we saw the damage Murray’s forehand struck. Remarkable improvement but consistency and the motivation have not been there; it was awful during some tournaments, acceptable in others, great in a few.
Federer’s response to Murray’s forehands were as follows:
If Murray attacked Federer’s backhand with the forehand from a cross-court position, Federer usually would hit a backhand slice – usually cross-court but occasionally down the line. Federer had the option of hitting a topspin backhand, however he was not interested in employing this shot in this situation (explained later).
If Murray hit his forehand cross-court to Federer’s forehand, power and consistency were a must. Murray consistently hit big forehands to Federer’s forehand, a way to open up his backhand side (attack the forehand so you have space to hit into the backhand). Federer diverted this plan by returning superbly on the forehand side; half-volleying, hitting with angle, power, different spins. To some this was unexpected since Federer’s forehand can be fragile, it broke down against Djokovic at just a month ago in Paris, Murray and Lendl had good cause to think hitting big to his forehand would work, Djokovic had done so and beat him impressively just a month before.
The difference in this match and that? Consistency. Federer made unforced error after unforced error against Djokovic a month ago , those same unforced errors were landing in and deep in this match.
Murray is in an awkward position due to not being wide enough to utilise the angle permitted by the cross-court shot yet not being in the middle, allowing Federer to wrong foot him and Murray having to move – either wider to his right or to his left.
Instead of hitting to the orange box (the safer option) Federer hits to the white box; the return is wide and Murray wins the point, he continues to hit this shot through out the match, building consistency and leaving Murray baffled. Federer turned defence to offence by this shot alone, an example is illustrated below.
Federer hits an audacious drop-shot at 30-0 to change this game from being a comfortable hold into an unknown, awkward position for Murray. At 30-30 both players are attempting to be aggressive, Murray hits a big forehand to Federer’s forehand, which Federer returns with interest; this recovery shot changes the rally around in Federer’s favour, letting him (eventually) win the point.
The very next point, the rally comes to the same stage; again a deep cross-court forehand return from Federer deals the damage, he moves to the net and finishes the point with some cute volleying.
Extreme Angle & Variety
Murray hit flat, deep, powerful shots opposed to angled, soft shots. This can work against Federer, yet it is one dimensional and as a plan for his whole approach for groundstroke rallies, it would need to be backed up by some net game and consistent big serving to ensure Federer did not get comfortable. Murray’s first serve dropped towards the middle of the match and he slipped during some key approaches to the net towards the third set.
Federer used angle to take Murray out of his comfort zone and make him lose the fluency on his groundstrokes, especially his forehand. This is where he used the roller backhand, made famous by Gustavo Kuerten. The roller backhand is suited a one hander, some with a two handed backhand can defeat the intuitive logic and hit it (David Nalbandian). Imagining Nadal’s short and angled cross-court forehand as a mash up between the wind-shield wiper forehand and the motion for a kick-serve, the roller backhand is a topspin cross-court backhand with heavy angle, not so deep, hit with an extreme grip. Essentially, Nadal’s forehand in reverse.
Federer hit this shot time and time against Murray during the 2008 Masters Cup Group Match and the 2010 Australian Open final, by moving Murray to his extreme left, a flaw with Murray’s backhand became apparent. When Federer hit this roller backhand or inside-out with his forehand to Murray’s backhand with angle and topspin (opposed to blunt power), Murray hit cross-court or to the middle of the court, hitting down-the-line would expose Federer’s court positioning, however Murray is not a naturally aggressive player the same way Federer is, he is similar to Nadal with the approach to get the ball back into the court deep in a high-percentage manner from this position (by hitting cross-court).
This pattern means Federer moves to his left but is looking to attack with his forehand in response from Murray whilst Murray is moving to his left but is looking to defend with his backhand.
Players who can move Federer out to his backhand to defend whilst they move to their left to attack with their forehand are players who have great inside-out forehands and look to attack with it in any manner and make Federer uncomfortable; Berdych, Tsonga, Nadal (who is left handed, but is the best example), Davydenko and Del Potro are players who have beaten Federer using this pattern.
Hitting down-the-line aggressively would indicate the angled shot isn’t available to Federer, Murray declined to do so on many occassions.
Another problem for Murray is that Federer’s supposed weakness in this match, the rally topspin backhand, is perfect for this tactic – not too much power, a lot of angle (which the one hander can generate much easier than the two hander).
Murray’s difficulties with tactically mature players relate as Federer took a “weakness” and made it into a strength by knowing Murray would not punish his tactic, one powerful down-the-line backhand from Murray and Federer would have to cover a lot of court. Federer took the risk in using the tactic, Murray did not take the risk trying to punish the tactic.
Both images above illustrate Federer moving Murray with extreme angle, the forehand is expected since it is Federer’s “strength”, yet with the backhand, to some it is unexpected that Federer can do so much damage. The roller backhand is used to move reactive baseliners out of the middle of the baseline and force them to be aggressive.
What if Murray responds by being aggressive? Then the logistics favour Federer; he is ahead, serving well, taking time away from Murray. Murray cannot afford to just be aggressive as aggression is a large risk at this point; the match could end in 20 minutes if the aggression does not work.
Whether done intentionally or not (most likely the latter), Federer’s groundstrokes became more “cuter”, varied, angled and softer as he took the lead. He did not hit with exact precision any more, the risk was not in having to not make a mistake in a rally or to ensure his first serve stays high but to keep varying the play and not let Murray get into a rhythm.
This is risky since Federer can lose track of what he needs to do; silly drop-shots are the result of being too cute and trying to change too much.
Federer prefers this risk compared to earlier; facing Murray with every point usually being a rally, Federer had more pressure and Murray was pumped up, motivated.
During later stages of the match, Murray could not find the fluency to deal with Federer hitting inside-out forehand drop-shots or extremely angled topspin backhands.
By hitting with more angle and less power, Federer allowed Murray to approach the net; Murray declined to do so often, when he did during some crucial points, Federer passed him easily.
Wrong Footing Forehand
Whenever Federer was to the left of the baseline and Murray hit to Federer’s right, Federer ran to his right and hit down-the-line forehand as opposed to a cross-court forehand; exceptionally good technique is required. This wrong-footed Murray and allowed Federer to get his court positioning back and to relinquish control.
Federer hits an inside-out forehand; Murray responds by hitting a slice backhand down-the-line, both are moving to their right; Federer is moving away from the centre, Murray is moving into the centre. A cross-court forehand shot is the expected shot from Federer at this moment.
Instead Federer hits down-the-line instead and Murray is clearly wrong-footed and has to move back, giving the momentum to Federer.
Federer side-steps to the middle of the court, some would run but Federer knows Murray will hit a defensive shot and has time to side-step to use his forehand. Murray will hit slightly to the left of the centre, giving Federer two options as indicated. Were Murray to not be so quick with the return to the centre perhaps Federer would be forced to think differently.
Another good example (in the same game) here which shows Federer stretching Murray with his down-the-line forehand recovery shot.
What you do after the dropshot determines the condition of the point. Staying back and hoping for an easy passing shot signifies someone who is not thinking or has complete assurance that there will be no return, moving forward to the net after hitting the dropshot signifies aggression and taking time away from the opponent.
Federer’s backhand dropshot too deep and Murray cleans it up with an easy forehand pass. This takes place relatively early during an important game (15-15), for Federer to hit such a shot to tells Murray that during the important points he will try something different and not let Murray get in a rhythm, for Murray to return with a winner tells Federer that he is comfortable and up to the challenge with whatever Federer throws at him.
Federer moves forward despite being easily passed which shows good tactics, just poor execution on the dropshot.
Federer attempts another dropshot in an attempt to move Murray away from the baseline; does he move forward this time? He is a set behind and Murray is at his most fluent as he has the lead, is serving well and controlling the majority of the rallies.
Federer moves forward yet is again passed easily by Murray.
Again Federer is passed by Murray. Why use this clearly unsuccessful tactic? The next image illustrates this.
A couple of poor dropshots and Federer is now fluent with when to (not) use this shot. Often we think of professional sport stars as of being able to do anything at any moment but as Federer’s dropshots here show, often the very best build fluency slowly during the performance.
Up to this point, Murray is the better player; a set ahead, in control of rallies, shorter service games, having good looks on Federer’s service games.
Federer’s dropshot is a key turning point in the match.
Prior to this point, a rally takes place with Federer eventually changing the pace by taking Murray away from his preferred zone to work in (the black box); Murray does not expect this at such a crucial moment and from Federer’s court positioning, an aggressive approach shot is expected.
Deviating away from what is expected, Federer uses creativity to stop Murray from dominating at the most crucial moment in the match. For some tennis players, being uncreative with focusing on solid, aggressive hitting with absolutely no “clever” shots, which requires complex thinking that may disrupt the flow of the player, is the solution to getting back in the match.
Federer uses “clever” or “cute” shots selectively at not always the most important moments but moments that always lead to the most important moments to get back in the match. A clever dropshot at 6*-5 30-0 and a superb volley at 2-2* 15-40 lead to bigger (evidently success) points.
After the previous dropshot, Federer hits an easy down-the-line backhand winner which alters the momentum of the game. A couple of points later, Federer wins the game and the second set; his clever shots stealing the momentum at the most crucial moment of the match.
Federer did not feed Murray the expected shots, he was left wrong footed and ill-prepared several times when Federer imposed some creativity.
Murray jumps (a little) to ensure he is not blocked by prior movement if Federer hits inside out or inside in, showing good court positioning. He is expecting Federer to hit with topspin.
Federer considers his options, changes to a continental grip and hits an inside in slice forehand. Since Murray is prepared for the ball anywhere in the orange rectangle, Federer knows he will have to hit a risky, huge forehand for either a winner or for an easy volley (from a weak Murray passing shot). He refuses to feed Murray what he is expecting. Federer’s ability to “wait” on the ball wins him the point here; Murray is ultimately prepared for any shot yet Federer changes that by letting the moment drag a little longer.
Murray, well inside the court, hits a dropshot yet does not move forward or to the middle of the court, a sign of desperation. Federer was also well inside the court. The difference in how each player used the same shot shows the tactical advantage Federer has over Murray.
Federer’s net game saved him, Early in the second set Murray was clearly the better player and had two break points to go up a break.
40-15* and Federer chooses to go into the net; Murray has excellent preparation; whilst Federer has reached the service line Murray is ready to hit a passing shot. Murray favours the forehand cross-court pass and he usually makes it. Federer’s approach was poor due to Murray imposing aggression, blocking the court and forcing Federer to come in unprepared.
Murray’s game plan was working; this was the lowest he could drag Federer to.
Federer returns the passing shot with a superb forehand punch volley which wins him the point. Murray’s tactic worked in getting Federer to hit a poor approach shot and rely on anticipation and being able to hit a difficult volley, however Federer made the volley and saved the break point. He hung in the service games until 6-5 where he broke Murray.
Federer’s creativity did not pay off through out all the match, Murray returned most of the dropshots with clean winners, at crucial moments such as the image above and at 6-5 30*-0 in the second set, Federer’s creativity paid off. His “strength” was not a particular shot rather how he implemented and used shots in specific moments.
Murray’s net approaches were predictable and he was passed easily. Murray’s usual game plan to stick to the baseline being suddenly put aside for a few points at inconvenient and uncomfortable times to come to the net shows tactical immaturity. This may unsettle an opponent in round 1 or 2, but at such a late stage against such an experienced opponent, Federer (and Murray himself, perhaps) sensed weakness in Murray’s game whenever he came to the net.
Hitting down-the-line into the white box would be advantageous for Murray as opposed to hitting cross-court into the black-box since Federer has his racquet swayed to his backhand side and is slightly to his left of the centre of the baseline, thus covering the black box will be easier. Murray chooses to hit cross-court.
Federer easily passes him. In situations where he could impose aggression on Federer, Murray either hit the wrong shot (as indicated here), let Federer back into the rally or had the right idea but Federer’s response was too good.
In this situation, Murray needs to construct a careful point to ensure Federer does not get the break (and win the match, basically), the down-the-line option is available, Federer is covering to his far left. Murray decides to hit an approach shot to the black box. Given how far back he is in the court, how well his previous net exchanges went, the implications of losing this point (giving the break away), Murray takes a big risk.
Federer can either hit into the open space (black box) or behind Murray (white box), he chooses to hit behind Murray and wins the point. If the roles were reversed and Federer was in Murray’s situation; behind and clinging on for dear life, it is difficult to fathom Federer hitting such approach shots from such a position and leaving large space for Murray to hit into, given that Murray would be ahead and would be determined to end the point on the passing shot.
Murray deviated from his game plan during key moments and it cost him. These two net exchanges illustrate this. Federer reinforced his game plan at key moments.
Federer returns Murray’s wide serve with an aggressive cross-court topspin backhand to which Murray can either hit into the black box or the white box yet due to not expecting such an aggressive return, the shot passes by Murray for a clean winner. Federer stepped into attack Murray’s wide serves (be it slice or topspin) which required good reading of Murray’s serve (which Federer has not always had) and exceptional timing. He cut out Murray’s options by moving into attack ground strokes or wide serves, he was not interested in the horizontal exploration required to participate in the point; he stepped in and accepted that sometimes he would give the point away with an error.
Djokovic slipped many times in the semi final, Murray slipped and lost his footing during crucial moments. Some see this as “bad luck” yet Federer rarely (if ever) slips on grass, his footwork and positioning are always secure.
Federer does not let players move him outside the doubles tramlines as his recovery shots are from inside the baseline, hitting on the rise. When he is moved in this manner (Juan Martin Del Potro, US Open 2009, Tomas Berdych & Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Wimbledon 2010 and 2011) he is weaker and is rushed. Murray takes more time and does not hit so much on the rise when pulled out wide, thus needing sharper turns and more explosive movement. This is why Murray slipped and Federer did not. Murray moved around more.
Federer moved Murray around by varying the angle and spin on his shots, thus Murray has less balance and less stability (and confidence) when he returns to the middle of the baseline. Slipping whilst approaching the net, running back to catch a lob, are unusual situations to happen for Murray. Djokovic had similar problems as Federer moved him side to side. Horizontal court exposure causes vertical court instability. The two images above illustrate how far Murary was being moved, hitting on the rise and not letting Federer move him so wide would have helped.
Federer’s superb inside out forehand exposed Murray’s backhand, let him move to his left and dominate from his favourite position on the baseline.
Federer’s inside-out forehand is returned with a cross-court backhand, Federer’s excellent footwork is apparent as he sets up for a classical inside-in forehand. Murray’s return is weak and Federer wins the point.
Earlier on Murray was higher up the court thus Federer could not hit clean winners or force errors with these forehands, as the match grew and Federer navigated Murray outside the court and used his variety to trouble Murray, his inside out forehand was the starting point for his aggression. We define a new term, the starting shot, where a player uses a specific shot in a specific context to initiate a pattern that is certain to bring success to them, Federer’s inside out forehand is his greatest starting shot.
When Federer’s inside out forehand was not wide enough, Murray punished him by exposing the huge gap in the court, Federer had to hit this shot in precisely otherwise Murray would leap on. Here Murray returns a deep, powerful forehand return from Federer for a clean winner.
How did the match turn around? How did it go from Murray winning to Federer winning?
As the weather changed and the roof appeared, Federer became more aggressive, Murray’s game plan fell as Federer responded impressively to his early break, Federer moved Murray enough to make him lose balance and injected creative shots to not get stuck into difficult baseline rallies.
How did the players match up? Was this match similar to past matches between these two?
Had this been maximum of three Murray may have won this 6-4 7-6; the Majors illustrate that longevity benefits players who can play their game for a longer duration, tactically mature players are at an advantage and players who have sufficient holes in their game can win during shorter matches.
This match was very similar to the 2010 Australian Open final match and the The Masters Cup 2008 Round Robin match; both matches hinged on how well Federer could serve at crucial moments, in the former he served stunningly well, in the latter he served poorly at crucial moments. Murray was demotivated at being forced to play so well for so long in the former and lost his concentration at crucial moments, yet in the latter the shorter duration made him concentrate specifically at crucial moments, clearly bothering Federer,
What are the implications of this match?
Federer is now (deservedly) ranked number one in the world, his form since the US Open loss last year after this match is a superb 63-5. Resting after a bizarre loss by skipping the Shanghai Masters and fine tuning his indoors game was the beginning. This match is an implication of all the effort Federer has put in since that loss.
For Murray, this result implies he will have more pressure next year now that he has reached the final, some doubted whether Murray should be put together with Federer, Djokovic and Nadal given some shocking losses this and last year, this result shows he is grandly there with them.
Do the match statistics tell us anything noteworthy?
Full match statistics can be found here.
Murray’s percentage of first serve points won against Federer in Major finals are 51% (2008 US Open), 57% (2010 Australian Open), 69% (2012 Wimbledon) with the average first serve speed changing from 173 kph to 196 kph to 194 kph, an improvement in serve speed and more free points.
Murray’s average second serve speed went from 151 kph in the 2010 Australian Open encounter to 141 kph in the 2012 Wimbledon encounter, his second serve has not progressed enough. Federer remarked that moving away from training on ground strokes and such to focusing on footwork and court positioning helped him progress. Murray already has superb footwork and speed, better utilisation and improvement in specific categories will take him to the next level.
Federer’s volleying and net game, poor all tournament, was superb here – 53 out of 68 net approaches won, showing an ultra aggressive game style. He won 38 out of 59 approaches and 42 out of 75 net approaches in the 2009 and 2008 Wimbledon finals, respectively, both significantly lengthier matches.
Federer won 15 of 19 net approaches in the 2011 French Open semi final, compared to Djokovic who won 12 out of 24, that match was regarded as one of Federer’s best matches. We see that Federer’s best game is not necessarily when he always approaches the net but when he can takes time away from the opponent and puts the match on his racquet, against Djokovic going to the net would not work and against Murray staying to the baseline would not work.
Federer’s poor volleying and inconsistent forehand lead Murray to the wrong game plan. Murray did not vary his game enough, let Federer move him around, could not cope with Federer changing tactics and becoming more aggressive with returns later in the match. Yet he had Federer right where he wanted him, with a solid passing shot on another day he may have been a set up and a break up.
Federer may have won the first set and Murray may have won the second set, both used risky tactics yet Federer’s paid off; we see such a match can be extremely close and on another day it may have given birth to a different result. Federer used the momentum and anticipation of winning these crucial points with his creativity to trust himself more and be more creative as the match progressed.
Federer’s dropshots were awful except a couple, which were the most crucial and of which Federer, crucially, won. Murray did not use his creativity well, his dropshots and net game were awful for his standard. His court positioning and balance decreased through out the match as Federer moved him more; Murray’s court positioning lead to him slipping and being more defensive.
How many Majors more will Federer win?
Federer’s story seemed to finished when he won his 16th Major, since then we have seen disappointing Major losses (Berdych Wimbledon 2010) accommodating some incredulous losses (Nadal Australian Open 2012, French Open 2011, Djokovic Australian Open 2011, French Open 2012, US Open 2010 & 2011) in which Federer should have won. In the end, his resilience will define him, not technical ability nor creativity nor attitude outside the court. He has shown again and again that there is no one better at “hanging in when the going gets tough”.
A superb schedule, mature attitude and a dynamic team allows for at least a couple more Majors. It must not be forgotten that beating Nadal at the French Open still should be Federer’s ultimate goal. How he will do so given that when he was playing his best ever clay court tennis (2011) and ambushed Nadal early on in the 2011 French Open final yet still found a way to lose, is a question for Federer to answer on another day.
Will Murray win one?
We conclude with the question we have always been asking. Federer entered seventh heaven at the All England Club whilst Murray’s destination took another valuable step. Be it closer or further way, Murray is improving as a player and as a man and that certainly improves his chances.
Maybe he does not need to cut out the moaning or the swearing and maybe his second serve or his forehand or his attitude do not need to improve for him to win, but until he imposes these improvements upon himself in every match he plays, Murray’s destination is unknown.