Soundbites from the Wimbledon final, as I struggle to get through a Monday morning here in Australia on 4 hours of sleep. But you know what? The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and life looks extra rosy on a day like this.
On the other side of the world, however, I suspect la vie n’est pas rose for one Andy Murray, whose voice quivered under the crushing weight of emotion yesterday. But they say time is the best cure for a broken heart, and by the time Murray got into his post-match press conference, he had acquired a firmer grasp on perspectives.
Q. After all that’s happened this fortnight, how much closer do you feel to achieving your ultimate goal?
ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. You know, it’s tough to kind of assess after you’ve just come off the court.
I’d say that’s the best I’ve played in a slam final. You know, I created chances. Obviously went up a set. You know, it was a long match. You know, even the last two sets, I still had chances the game where I got broken in the third set. It was a very, very long game. I had a lot of game points.
It wasn’t like I gave away bad games or stupid games and stuff. I played a good match. I made pretty good decisions for the most part, so I’m happy with that.
I felt more comfortable this morning and before the match than I had done maybe in the previous slams.
It was a successful 2 weeks for Murray on the PR front, as we all saw a more human, endearing side to a man who – more often than not – presents as moapy, miserable, and given up in defeat.
The Daily Mail, not typically known for ‘quality journalism’, nailed it in their piece on the match, somewhat hilariously titled “Andy Murray lost to a Master of the Universe“. Umm … I’ll settle for just the Greatest of All Time.
“He did not lose because he choked. He did not lose because he moaned. He did not surrender to injury, or mislay his focus under the incredible weight of history bearing down.”
Source: Daily Mail
No. Murray lost because on this particular day, in this particular match, Federer was simply better, more experienced, and much more focused than I’ve seen him in a long time. But Murray’s slam frustrations haven’t left Federer unmoved.
Q. Clearly very emotional for him. You must have felt for him.
ROGER FEDERER: For Andy?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. I mean, are you kidding me?
I told him it’s supposed to be easier, this part, than playing the match. It’s hard. I mean, I’ve been there, as well. I think he’s done so, so well, to be quite honest. Because I see him every day. I see him, what he goes through on a daily basis on tour.
At Wimbledon I think he handle is it so perfectly, to be quite honest. I think he’s giving himself so many looks at big titles. Grand Slams I think is what you guys are focusing on the most. I really do believe deep down in me he will win Grand Slams, not just one. I do wish him all the best. This is genuine. He works extremely hard. He’s as professional as you can be.
Things just didn’t quite turn out for him in the finals that he hoped for. But today I’m sure he got another step closer to a Grand Slam title for him. I really do believe and hope for him that he’s going to win one soon.
The media, rather predictably, is full of praises and admiration for Federer today. Look at this man, they say, 17 grand slams and back at No 1, they say. How incredible! How resilient! What a champion! They say.
And yet, it was them who proclaimed Federer to be done, tirelessly and repetitively over the past 2 years. It was them who made Federer’s age the determinative reason why he would never win another slam or get back to No 1. It was them who counted him out, called for him to retire after every slam defeat, and every shock loss (Isner at Davis Cup anyone? What an inconsequential result in hindsight). They put him on a pedestal, then they knock him down. Roger understands this better than anyone.
Q. How hard was it to listen to the same questions done in different ways about will you win a Grand Slam again?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it didn’t happen the day after I won Australia. Right then things were great. Like they will be tomorrow. Then the day after they are going to go, ‘When is he going to retire, again?’
God bless him. This Federer guy.
P.S. Wimbledon wrap up later. I feel as inspired as the Fed today.