Federer major hurdle for Murray in Wimbledon final
WIMBLEDON, England -- Think of the Mets making the World Series. Consider the Islanders getting to the Stanley Cup Finals. Nothing compares to Andy Murray playing in Sunday's Wimbledon men's final. A nation turns its lonely eyes to him.
"Great Scot, a Briton in the Final,'' was the headline in the Independent.
There will be a man across the net, Roger Federer, who's already accomplished what Murray barely can imagine, winning six Wimbledon men's singles and a record 16 major singles titles.
In a way, Federer, only a month from his 31st birthday, has accomplished what many critics barely could imagine, a renaissance.
Another year, and this is Wimbledon's 126th year, the emphasis would be on Federer, the master from Switzerland. But on this last Sunday of the 2012 Championships, the attention belongs to the 25-year-old Murray, the first Brit in the men's final since Bunny Austin in 1938. Austin lost to Don Budge. The last British player to win was Fred Perry in 1936.
"It's a great challenge,'' Murray said of facing Federer, "one where I'm probably not expected to win the match, but one that if, I play well, I'm capable of winning.''
Although it's Murray's first Wimbledon final, he has made it to the ultimate day of the 2008 U.S. Open and 2010 Australian Open, losing to Federer, and to the 2011 Australian, losing to Novak Djokovic.
With a victory on Centre Court, Federer would become the third man to win Wimbledon seven times, joining William Renshaw of the 1880s and Pete Sampras of the 1990s. A win would also lift Federer to No. 1 in the rankings, ahead of Djokovic, whom he defeated in Friday's semifinal.
"If you look at his record here over the past 10 years or so,'' Murray said of Federer, "it's been incredible. So you know the pressure that I would be feeling if it was against somebody else, I guess it would be different.
"But there will be less on me because of who he is.''
Interestingly, Murray holds an 8-7 lead over Federer in head-to-head meetings but none of those 15 matches has been played on grass, Federer's favorite surface.
For a match the newspapers suggest may draw scalper's prices of up to $4,000 a ticket for the 14,000-seat stadium, Federer -- who hadn't even been in the semis the last two years -- is remaining as unemotional as possible.
"I didn't break down crying and fall on my knees and thought the tournament is over and I achieved everything,'' Federer said after his semifinal victory over Djokovic.
"I want to try to play the best possible final I can.''
That will be against Andy Murray and all of Great Britain.