2012 Tennis gold match - Tennis Review

2012 Tennis gold match

Tennis Results - London

The atmosphere on Wimbledon's Centre Court at just after 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon was part hysteria, part disbelief. Roger Federer, the greatest player ever to grace the game of tennis, had just been demolished 6-2 6-1 6-4 in a shade under two hours by Andy Murray, who produced a performance of breathtaking power and passion to win the gold medal.

Murray looked as stunned as everyone else when he produced a succession of aces to close out the match. Instead of sinking to the floor or leaping the net in the traditional manner, he just stood there. Then, after a few seconds, the realisation dawned - he had just annihilated his old nemesis and was Britain's first Olympic men's singles champion since Josiah Ritchie in 1908. Odd how 1908 is becoming the touchstone for so much at these Olympics.

As Federer left the court - can he ever have suffered such a humiliation? - Murray, emulating Pat Cash when he became Wimbledon champion in 1987, scaled the stands to make his way into the box reserved for friends and family, where he embraced girlfriend, father, coaches and, finally, his mother, the indomitable Judy, who tempered the metal from which the gold was made. The ultimate alchemist.

Last month, when he lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final, Murray blubbed, feeling he'd let down the hopes of a nation. This time he was completely in control - both during the match, in which he showed unrelenting concentration, and during the medal ceremony that followed. As he left the court with the gold round his neck, his final gesture was to shake the hand of a small boy at the side of the court. Don't wash that hand, son. Someday it will be worth a fortune on eBay.

Afterwards, he said he had been inspired by both the crowd and the performances of his fellow athletes in Team GB. "I watched the athletics last night, and it gave me a boost coming into today. The momentum the team's had the last couple of days has been so good."

He said he was surprised to have won gold. "I didn't expect that at the start of the week. I had a chance of going deep into the tournament, but I was a little bit tired after Wimbledon, and playing the mixed as well. But I felt so fresh. On the court today I didn't really feel nervous at all, apart from at the beginning of the match. I've had a lot of tough losses in my career, and this is the best way to come back. I'll never forget it."

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be a union jack umbrella seller was very heaven. It bucketed down all morning at Wimbledon. But the rain relented just in time for the patriotic decision to be made to open the roof - all the pundits reckoned Murray's best chance was en plein air. Every cloud had a golden lining.

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