Seventy four years have lapsed since a British male won a major. Today, world number one Roger Federer prolonged the Brits’ agony by at least a few more months. In the Australian Open final, Federer downed Andy Murray 6-3,6-4,7-6 for his fourth Aussie title and his 16th major overall.
On Federer’s serve, Murray took the first point of the match with a backhand down the winner. Then, with a backhand error by Federer, Murray got up love-30. Still, despite Andy focusing on Roger’s backhand, Federer pulled off the first game. Next, with a double fault by Murray and a backhand down the line winner, Federer arrived at triple break point. Federer capitalized with a forehand crosscourt winner for a 2-0 lead. However, Murray quickly recovered. With an absurd backhand down the line winner, Murray got double break point. Murray got on the board with a successful forehand crosscourt pass. Feeding Federer a steady diet of backhands, Murray leveled the set. When Federer netted a backhand volley, Murray again had double break point. Thanks to a string of aces, Federer survived three break points to keep his head in front 3-2. After Federer captured a pressure filled game for 4-3, Murray started serve with a double fault. At 30 all, Federer pushed Murray off the court with an acutely angled crosscourt backhand and hit a backhand down the line winner for break point. Then, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Federer sealed the break for 5-3. Subsequently, with a strong service game, Federer wrapped up the set.
After a comfortable service game to open the second set, Murray faced triple break point when Federer crushed a forehand crosscourt pass for a winner. By provoking a forehand mistake by Murray, Federer seized the break for 2-1. Even though Murray applied plenty of pressure, Federer consolidated for 3-1. With a backhand down the line winner and a double fault, Roger had two more chances to extend his lead by two breaks. But, Murray found the brakes in time to keep the deficit to one break. Despite extricating himself from a triple break point game, Murray never managed a break point in the second set. Moreover, Murray’s strategy of berating Federer’s backhand was failing. At that point, Federer had converted more backhand winners than his opponent. With an effortless game, Federer captured a two set advantage.
The third set was extremely competitive since Murray found his rhythm on the first serve. After an easy service game to start, by being offensive, Murray earned a break point. However, Andy wasted it when he misfired on a backhand down the line. Later, serving at 2-3, Federer dumped a backhand stroke and forehand volley into net then sent a forehand crosscourt long for love-40. By winning a multiple stroke volley exchange, Murray got up 4-2. That shot brought Murray and a hibernating Australian public back to life. Murray readily widened his lead to 5-2. After a love hold to force Murray to serve for the set; with a forehand crosscourt return winner, Federer had break point. Murray momentarily stopped Federer with a booming serve. Unable to handle a backhand volley, Murray gave Federer another chance to get back on serve. Roger did so when Andy’s forehand found the bottom of the net. Ultimately, the set was settled in a tiebreaker.
Murray bagged the first mini-break when Federer overshot the forehand. Yet, at 3-1, Murray missed a backhand down the line and relinquished the advantage. Later, with Federer unable to convert the volley on a forehand crosscourt pass, Murray had two set points at 6-4. With a big forehand of his own and Murray missing a makeable one, Federer blotted them both. After Murray couldn’t bank a third set point, Federer had his first championship point at 8-7. When Federer misfired on the forehand pass by inches, Murray still had life. Subsequently, with a tremendous dig on a deep forehand return from Federer then by reaching a dropshot and bunting the volley up the line for a winner, Murray saved a second championship point. Following Federer’s forehand mistake, Murray arrived at a fifth set point. Again, Federer responded with a sensational serve. Then, with a forehand down the line winner, Federer was at his third championship point. When Murray dumped another backhand into the net, Federer secured the championship.
Murray congratulated Federer on his victory. Although Murray was disappointed for himself and his country that he did not win tonight, he was hopeful that “one time I can win one here”. In spite of the tears, Murray found a bit of humor. Referencing Roger’s emotional display last year when he went down to Rafael Nadal; Murray said ” I can cry like Roger, a shame I can’t play like him”.
Considering the many opportunities not taken throughout the match and the hard work “to get to this stage”, Murray admitted the loss was painful. Still, Murray was proud to have reached a second major final. Asked how the rest of the season will be affected, Murray said “I don’t know, I’ll take some time off . . .and see what I want to do in terms of my game”.
Federer acknowledged that Murray is indeed a formidable opponent. With Murray’s talent, Federer said ” [you are] too good a player not win a grand slam.” In Federer’s eyes, it’s a matter of time. Federer felt that one of the keys to the match was that he played “aggressive and patient at the same” which is important since Murray has great shot variation. With Murray steadier in the third set, Federer feared after losing the point on the dropshot which was his second championship point, “[Andy] just grabbed the trophy out of my hands”. Federer was relieved that this was not the case. Also, Federer found the win special since it’s ” [my] first grand slam as a father”.
No doubt Federer at 28 is still motivated to win majors. Although Roger knows he’s talented, Federer says he’s gotten this far by “working extremely hard” in terms of the right shot selection, physical and mental conditioning. These elements are crucial in keeping up with the youngsters. Moreover, Roger feels talents like Murray on the other side of the net have “made me a better player”. With so much success, Roger cited that his primary focus is not only winning majors, if it happens great. But, Federer states his goal is to enjoy the rest of his career and to give his best whether it’s a small or big tournament.