Federer Lets Murray Win Gold!
A month ago, Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray of Great Britain in the finals at Wimbledon, as the Scottish born Murray came up just short in front of his home crowd on the biggest stage in tennis. Yesterday morning, the two players matched up once again on the exact same court, only this time it was for a gold medal instead of a Wimbledon Title. Unlike their last contest, Andy Murray was able to win 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in a match that was never really close. The British fans went crazy for their hometown hero, and although the Olympics is a step below the Grand Slam tournaments for professional tennis players, the fact that the London games were played in Murray’s homeland made them extremely special for the Scot. Which leads me to my main conclusion: Roger Federer wasn’t beaten as much as he let Andy Murray get a win for the home crowd.
Coming into the Olympic Games, the talk of the tournament was Federer’s quest for a gold medal so he could complete the Golden Slam of his career. He has failed to capture gold in any of his four Olympic Tournaments, in a 12 year span that he has dominated all other tournaments in the world. This leads me to think that the Olympics are not that important to Roger. Federer has proven himself in all phases of tennis and with his eye on the U.S. Open later this month, he was not prepared to give the all out effort that Andy Murray would. Therefore, rather than bust his ass to beat Murray, he let the lesser player have a day in the sun. Federer gave his all to ensure he would receive at least a silver in his previous match against Del Potro, and was satisfied with bringing home the second place prize.
Murray has played in 4 career Grand Slam Finals, losing all of them. In three of those matches, he has come up short against the man he beat to capture gold today. Like I previously mentioned, the last time was less than a month ago. What could have possibly changed in that time to produce such a difference in the result that we saw today? Did Murray want this Olympic title more than he wanted Wimbledon? I would have to think Wimbledon is by far more desirable for the Great Brit. I truly believe the thing that changed the most was Federer truly felt that after beating the hometown boy in Wimbledon, he owed him one. Even if Federer didn’t fully give Murray the match, it appeared he took his foot off the pedal and did not play with the same intensity or fire that he has always demonstrated in his career.
Federer had his serve broken four times in a row! That never happens to Roger, one of the great servers of all time. The most telling sign to me is that Roger didn’t even appear to be upset by the result. After the match, Roger said “Don’t feel too bad for me, I felt like I won my silver, I didn’t lose it. So I feel really happy.” He doesn’t at all sound like a player he gave is all and left it all on the court. He went on to say Andy deserves “credit for getting in the lead and using the crowd to come through. He did an unbelievable job.” It sure as hell sounds to me that Roger was right with the crowd in his support of Andy Murray.
Murray is the first British male to win gold in the Olympics since Josiah Ritchie in 1908. Those games were also played on the Wimbledon courts in front of a hometown. So it took British players 104 years to win the Olympics, and coincidentally both times it took place in a home Olympics? There is something really fishy about today’s result and I can’t be the only one who agrees with this assessment. I can’t wait for the next time these two square off, just to watch Federer beat down Murray and show how much better he really is when he tries. Although assists are not a category often kept in tennis, Roger Federer showed his best Steve Nash impression, allowing Murray to stand on the podium and collect all the accolades that comes with winning the Olympics in your home country.