SAN DIEGO, August 5, 2012 – When you are competing in the Olympic Games in your home country, your experience carries great expectations. Some athletes are crushed under the pressure to succeed. Others feel strengthened by the support of their countrymen.
Team GB’s Andy Murray had the fan support at Wimbledon’s Centre Court this morning and then some. The entire nation seemed to stop what it was doing to watch Murray in a rematch of the men’s Wimbledon final just weeks ago against Switzerland’s Roger Federer.
This time, the wild crowd seemed to inspire Murray as he beat Federer handily for the Olympic gold medal, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Murray played an aggressive game, returning Federer’s serves and coming forward, winning on superb passing shots and getting plenty of lucky bounces.
After Murray won the first set, he won the second game of the second set by ending a rally at the net with a wicked shot that nearly hit Federer, for which Murray held up a hand in apology. It signaled that today, the match was simply going to go Murray’s way.
It was a turnaround at just the right time on the biggest possible stage. Murray lost all four Grand Slam finals this year, three against Federer including Wimbledon.
“I’ve had a lot of tough losses in my career,” he said. “This is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I’ll never forget it.”
And while Federer enjoys tremendous success in every other venue, the Olympic Games has proven to be his personal nemesis. He has played four times. Today’s silver was his first singles medal. But the gracious Federer isn’t feeling sorry for himself.
“Don’t feel too bad for me,” Federer said. “I felt like I won my silver, I didn’t lose it. So I feel really happy.”
“He (Murray) never looked back,” Federer said. “His credit for getting in the lead and using the crowd to come through. He did an unbelievable job.”
Murray is the first British player to win the gold in singles since London 1908. Those games also took place at Wimbledon.
The fans were wound up from the moment the players stepped onto the court. There were Union Jacks everywhere, including painted on faces and other – body parts. They chanted his name, roared when Murray won a point. But every polite and in the Olympic spirit, they also applauded when Federer won a point. But they didn’t have much occasion to do so.
Murray said after the match, “I didn’t feel nervous really at all, apart from at the beginning of the match.”
Winning in fitting style with an ace serve, Murray briefly sank to his knees, then came forward to congratulate Federer, who greeted Murray with a smile.
Murray then climbed into the player box to share hugs with teammates, worked his way up into the stands to kiss his girlfriend Kim Sears, and he even hugged a young boy who called out to him.
Meanwhile, the ever considerate Federer quickly left the court to allow Murray and his devoted British fans to enjoy their richly deserved celebration.
Associated Press contributed to this story.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She writes on professional cycling and covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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Andy Murray of Great Britain returns to Roger Federer of Switzerland during the gold medal men’s singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, London at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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