A fortnight of high
drama came to an end in SW19 on Sunday afternoon as Roger Federer vanquished a game from Andy Murray and was crowned
the 2012 Wimbledon Champion for a Sampras-tying seventh time.
The event began with Rafa Nadal looking
poised to regain his position at the top of the world rankings. The Spaniard
had enjoyed a superb clay court season which culminated in an historic seventh
French Open victory. Rafa was seemingly back on a roll. All the momentum was
with the then world no.2.
If it wasn't going to be Rafa then who?
Well, the obvious answer was Novak
Djokovic had pushed Nadal all the way in Paris and they had also met in the semi-final of Rome and Monte
Carlo. The defending champion, already with one Grand
Slam title to his name in 2012, had contested each of the last four Grand Slam
finals with Rafa Nadal. The odds were that the same thing was going to happen
again, but this time many favoured Nadal to be the victor.
And what of the other two members of the so
called big four?
Well, Roger Federer was ageing. Yes, he'd
had a good run of results in some of the lesser tournaments, but he hadn't
managed it in the Slams and had been easily defeated by Nadal and Djokovic in Australia and France.
No chance at all.
The Scot just hadn't been anywhere near his
best form for some time. His last appearance in a Grand Slam final had come
almost 18 months ago and even then he was destroyed by Djokovic in Melbourne.
A back injury provided cause for even more
pessimism, and first round exits in his two pre-Wimbledon warm-up events caused
the tennis bookmakers to offer bigger odds than we'd seen on Murray to win this event since he first burst
onto the scene in 2005.
And then there was the draw. With men like
Davydenko, Karlovic, Cilic, and Ferrer all standing in Murray's way, he wouldn't even be enjoying
his customary defeat to Rafa Nadal in the semis.
And, of course, Murray didn't enjoy his customary defeat in
the semis to Nadal. The 25-year-old Scot went one step further and became the
first British man to reach the final of Wimbledon
since Bunny Austin in 1938.
Sparkling performances against Ferrer and
Tsonga in the quarters and semis led many to believe that this was finally the
year for Andy Murray to make his mark on Grand Slam tennis.
In the end, it wasn't to be. But it wasn't
Djokovic or Nadal that put pay to the Murray
Roger Federer looked like a class act
throughout the tournament. An off day against Justin Benneteau necessitated a
five set thriller, but that aside, Federer was immense.
He was always expected to reach the
semi-finals, where, the theory went, he would be promptly dispatched by Novak Djokovic, the man
who just four weeks earlier had given the then world no.3 a tennis lesson in
Roger romped to a four set victory over the
stunned Serb. It's been a long time since we've seen the Serb bow out of a
Grand Slam event with such meekness, but he was powerless to the Federer Force
on Friday afternoon.
So we finished up with the final that
nobody expected and but for a couple of points here and there in the second
set, we could have had the winner that nobody expected too.
Andy Murray played the match of his life in
the final. There was no sign of nerves, no chocking, no inferiority complex. In
fact, for most of the first two sets, it was Federer who looked like the novice.
Murray had lost three Grand Slam finals previous to this. Each time he'd
been told by anyone who cared to comment that he shouldn't worry, a Grand Slam
victory would be his one day.
Until yesterday, there was never any real
evidence that this could be the case.
But, now it seems almost inevitable that Murray will lift at least
one Slam title. It's close to impossible to be as good as he is and not reach
the pinnacle at some point.
Don't forget, his coach Ivan Lendell was
defeated in four Slam finals before eventually going on to win eight of the
The real glory though belongs to Federer.
He was asked all the right questions by Murray
but came back with answer after exquisite answer. Federer has now won seven Wimbledon titles, but he may never have had to play better
than this to clinch one.
So, all in all, Wimbledon 2012 will be remembered
as the year when Rafa Nadal was the victim of one of the all time Grand Slam
upsets, Novak Djokovic lost his world. no.1 ranking after exactly 12 months,
Andy Murray proved that he fully deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as
the other three, and Roger Federer rose like a phoenix from the flames, not
only to win the coveted trophy but also plant his name firmly back at the top
of the world rankings.