Andy Murray is getting closer.
Faced with enormous pressure from his home country and the world, having never won a set in a Grand Slam final before and never played in the final at Wimbledon, and with the greatest player in the history of the tournament standing in his way, Andy Murray, the first British man to reach the final at the Championships since 1936, played one of the best matches of his life.
It wasn’t enough.
The seven thousand fans inside Centre Court came looking for a history making victory by a Scotsman they had their hearts set on. Instead, they received a master class on how to win at Wimbledon by the greatest master of the art.
Roger Federer was shaky at first, but after a second-set victory and a 40-minute rain delay that closed Centre Court’s roof, he was unstoppable, winning the match 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. It was like a page out of a storybook, a journey back to when there was no Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic standing in his way, a time where Federer ruled the game of tennis.
The match contained a heaping spoonful of grace and glory from Federer, but the most captivating moment of the day came after Federer was crowned champion for a seventh time, and Murray, soundly defeated by a worthy adversary, addressed the crowd during an interview.
“I’m gonna try this, and it’s not going to be easy,” Murray said, voice cracking. He congratulated Federer on his victory, and thanked those in his box for their support. “I’m gonna try and not look at them, cause I’ll start crying again,” he said. Then he thanked the crowd, and as cheers and applause rained down from fans who were proud of him, even in defeat, he did start crying again.
Now, I get emotionally attached to every sport, from Yankees-Red Sox to beanbag tossing. But I don’t think Andy Murray and I were the only two people who started welling up during that moment. It seemed like an entire nation was consoling Andy Murray at that moment, a moment that showcased the grace and beauty of the game of tennis that many easily forget. It was an emotional connection was made between one man and thousands.
Federer said Andy would win at least one Grand Slam title by the time he was done. I know that I, and millions of others, will be rooting for him every step of the way.