After winning a critical game in the third set that was filled with falls and drama that earned Federer an energy-giving advantage, Federer surged to his record-tying seventhWimbledon title Sunday.
In front of England Prime Minister David Cameron, David and Victoria Beckham and Kate and Pippa Middleton, the third-seeded Federer turned back the challenge of Scotland’s fourth-seeded Andy Murray to win, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. It was Federer’s first major since the 2010 Australian Open.
Along with the win, Federer will return to being ranked No. 1 in the world Monday, his 286th week at the top, which ties Pete Sampras as the longest-reigning No. 1. Sampras, who last won here in 2000, and William Renshaw, whose last Wimbledon win was in 1889, also have seven titles here.
Murray, 25, was trying to become the first British man sinceFred Perry in 1936 to win “The Championships,” as the tournament is referred to here, and the hope was high after the first set.
But after a 40-minute rain delay in the third set, Federer came out aggressively, earned a service break in the third set and then sprinted to the finish.
It was Federer’s 17th major championship, the most in men’s singles history, and it left Murray with an 0-4 record in Grand Slam tournament finals.
As the fans chanted “Mur-ray, Mur-ray,” before the final game, Federer didn’t change his expression.
An ace gave him a match point and Murray’s desperate forehand passing shot went long on match point.
The match was finished on Centre Court with the roof up, the first time a men’s final finished under covers. After rain came in the second set the decision was made to close the roof for the rest of the match.
Murray was emotional after the loss. “I’m getting closer,” he said before his voice broke and tears came. “I’m going to try this and it’s not going to be easy,” he said to the crowd.
“He’s not bad for a 30-year-old,” Murray said, pointing to Federer. “Congratulations, you deserve it.”
“I think I played some of my best tennis the past couple of matches,” said Federer, who upset defending champion and soon-to-be-formerly No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
“It feels nice,” Federer said when he was handed the trophy. “It feels nice, like it never left me.”
And to Murray, Federer said, “He’ll at least win one Grand Slam.
If Murray was nervous, his game didn’t show any such evidence at the beginning.
In the very first game, with a series of confident groundstrokes, Murray broke Federer’s serve.
It didn’t take Federer long to even the set, though. In the fourth, with the notable shot being a fierce backhand winner up the line that gave him a break point, Federer got the break back to make it 2-2. Federer, who usually doesn’t show early emotion, bellowed “Come on,” at the end of that game.
The set turned in the seventh and eighth games.
First Murray got two break points in a game that lasted almost 12 minutes and he finally held when Federer sent a forehand return into the net.
And in the next game, it was Federer who seemed to show nerves.
He had three baseline errors and also had to duck when Murray volleyed right at Federer’s head. When Federer put a forehand into the net, Murray had a 5-4 advantage and the chance to serve for the set.
The tennis came easily to Murray in that game, though. He overpowered Federer with his serve and held at 15. The final two points were an ace and service winner and after 57 minutes, Murray had the advantage.
It was also the first set Murray had won in a major tournament final. His first three appearances had gotten Murray only straight-set beatings.
Murray saved a break point in the first game of the second set and Federer had to save two in the fifth game when Murray had a 15-40 lead and two more in the ninth game.
But in the final game of the second set, Federer’s net play brilliance brightened the chances for a long match. He ended a long rally on break point with a backhand volley that made even the very partisan Murray fans stand in appreciation.
At 1-all in the second and Federer leading 40-0 on his serve, rain arrived.
After the 40-minute rain delay, the roof was raised on Centre Court and Federer’s game did too.
He broke Murray with an incredible shot-making display in the sixth game. There were 10 deuces and Murray fell three times. Federer got the break on his sixth try when Federer moved Murray everywhere until Murray could only helplessly lunge with his forehand. The ball landed in the net and Murray hung his head. That gave Federer a 5-2 lead and about four minutes later, Federer served out the set, ending with an ace.
As if he was gathering energy by the moment, Federer grabbed the first break of the fourth set in the fifth game. It was earned with a breathtaking backhand passing shot and it was followed by a small fist pump from Federer.