There can be victory in defeat and Andy Murray has experienced that since his Wimbledon final defeat to Roger Federer in July. Despite being far more successful than either Tim Henman or Greg Rusedski the 25-year old has never had the same kind of love from the British public. After shedding a few tears on Centre Court and showing us that he’s a real boy with real feelings after all, tennis fans have really warmed to the four-time Grand Slam finalist.
If he can win just one of his two Olympic finals today then they’ll grow warmer still.
The big one is unquestionably his rematch with Roger Federer. Their head-to-head record now stands at eight wins-a-piece, with Federer winning the last three meetings. Murray showed in the first two sets of the Wimbledon final that he has the ability to beat the world number one on grass. The Scot has also looked very relaxed and confident in his runs to the men’s and mixed doubles finals. The shorter three set format of the earlier rounds may have suited Murray a little better but on current form he’s a solid bet at 11/8 to win.
Federer also had a tough semi-final battle with Juan Martin del Potro which finished with a 19-17 third set. This may have taken something out of the 30-year old and if he’s any way tired he could struggle against the relentless Murray.
This time Murray will have a far more supportive crowd behind him and with the swell of supportive in all things Team GB after Saturday’s heroics, Murray could be willed on to great things.
It’s been an amazing month and one of the best of my career. The support that I have had over the last month, after Wimbledon, I really needed it. All the times that I have lost in a Grand Slam final I’ve had a tough time afterwards for a few months. But coming here with the motivation of playing in the Olympics and with the support that I have had has been all the motivation that I needed.
However things pan out against Roger Federer, Murray will have to get his game face back on to partner Laura Robson in the mixed doubles finals. This has been something of a surprisingly successful pairing and though they always seem to make things more difficult than they need to be, they’ve kept winning.
All three of the pair’s matches have gone to a deciding first to ten third set which has added to the excitement of their success. How grueling the men’s final has been on Murray will have a big impact on this game, as will the outcome. If he wins reasonably comfortably then he and Robson will be a great bet at 5/4 to beat the Belarusian pairing Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi.
If Murray loses a hard, emotionally draining five set match then even the loving support of the crowd may not be enough to lift him for the mixed doubles final.
With two silvers already guaranteed Andy Murray is going to have successful Olympics no matter what. His Wimbledon tears have already broken down some barriers and won him a lot of love so he can move forward in a positive frame of mind. However if he can turn those silvers in to golds it could change the trajectory of his career, sending him to the heights he has so far narrowly failed to reach. Greatness awaits.