The crowd erupts.
Murray has come back against Federer from 0-40 at 5-7, 4-5.
It’s deuce. Then another deuce two points after. Then another. And another.
Now, the game has gone for nearly fifteen minutes, and there’s been six deuces.
The asterisk next to this game is becoming bigger with every point.
Murray holds, gritting out the game with determination that would make Rafa proud.
The tide has turned. Murray’s back in town. At 5 all, he’s is perfectly poised to pile on the pressure and seal a break before levelling the match at one set all.
Federer holds to love.
Federer breaks to take the second set.
Federer wins in straight sets, 7-5, 7-5, 6-4.
This is how Federer’s semi-final victory over Andy Murray unfolded, filled with moments that matched, and on occasion even surpassed, the Federer of old.
There has perhaps never been a more obvious turning point in a match than Murray’s aforementioned fightback from 0-40 down at 4-5 in the second set, the marathon game ending in a Murray roar combined with the standing cheers of the tens of thousands watching on at Wimbledon.
Except it wasn’t a turning point. On any other day, against any other player, or even against Federer in slightly lesser form, it would’ve been.
But Federer wasn’t in the mood to play like a mere mortal.
Instead, he played like a man possessed by his old self, clubbing 56 winners against 11 unforced errors. To put this into comparison, one of the greatest performances of Federer’s career (against the sixth seeded Andy Roddick at the 2007 Australian Open) saw him hit 45 winners against 12 unforced errors.
The straight sets victory is even more impressive when considering how Andy Murray played and presented. This was as positive as I’ve ever seen Andy Murray on a tennis court, bouncing around between points no matter the result, pumping himself up and embracing the crowd’s overwhelming support for him. From a tennis standpoint, he played superbly, 35 winners against 17 unforced errors nothing to growl about.
By his own admission post-match, Murray “Played pretty well.”
He could’ve played the best match of his life, and he still would’ve struggled to steal a set.
I’ve always believed Federer has one slam left in him, and that Wimbledon was the event at which he would claim it.
But I didn’t think it was this year. I didn’t think he could beat Murray, who’s arguably playing the best tennis of his career this season, on the court he arguably loves more than Federer.
I didn’t think Roger Federer was the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
He may not be far ahead of the next candidate, but he’s ahead now.
In 2006, David Wallace wrote an article on ‘Roger Federer as Religious Experience’.
I always thought it hyperbolic.
Now I think he’s on to something.