Andy Murray defeated Milos Raonic in straight sets, 6-4 7-6 7-6, to capture his third grand slam title and second at Wimbledon. Raonic, seeded sixth, was playing in his first grand slam final and put in a commendable performance.
Coming into the match with a 2-8 record in major finals and way behind other members of the ‘Big Four’, Murray simply needed to win this. Two of those runner-up efforts have come this year in Melbourne and Paris to Novak Djokovic,but with the world No.1 shocked in the third round, the Scot was installed as new tournament favourite. Murray put in a superb showing in front of his home fans, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were seated in the Royal Box.
As consistent as Murray has been in the last few years, he hasn’t won a major since that drought-breaking win in 2013, in which he was the first British man in 77 years to win Wimbledon. The win is also Murray’s first as a husband and a father.
“I feel happier this time. I feel more content this time,” Murray said. “I feel like this was sort of more for myself more than anything, and my team as well. We’ve all worked really hard to help get me in this position.”
“Last time it was just pure relief and I didn’t really enjoy the moment as much, whereas I’m going to make sure I enjoy this one more than the others.”
Raonic did not have an easy run to the final, coming back from two sets down for the first time in his career in the fourth round and then grinding through a tough five-set win over Roger Federer in the semis. But quite often his highly reputable serve got him out of trouble.
The key in this match was there for all to see. Murray, one of the game’s great returners, blunted Raonic’s biggest weapon – his serve. The tall Canadian was averaging 23 aces per match but today Murray restricted him to just eight. Murray served impeccably himself, winning 87 percent of points on his first serve.
Raonic wasn’t overwhelmed by the occasion but rather by his opponent. He executed and stuck to his game plan – set out by coaches Carlos Moya and John McEnroe – of charging the net as much as possible. He rushed to the forecourt 74 times with mixed success. True, he did make some outstanding volleys, but Murray, who loves a target, also hit plenty of passing shots, especially in the crucial tiebreaks.
It was a masterclass from Murray, who finished with 39 winners and only 12 unforced errors in an extremely high-quality display.
The 1987 winner, Pat Cash, gave his thoughts on Murray: “There were opportunities for Andy to explode today and he didn’t. It’s been fascinating to see why it’s taken him so long to get a grip on his emotions when he’s playing tennis tournaments.”
It is impossible not to notice the change of fortune as soon as Murray has reunited with coach Ivan Lendl. The first partnership in 2012-13 was fruitful with Murray netting two major trophies and an Olympic gold medal. Maybe Lendl understands the pressure as he is one of only two men who have lost more grand slam finals than Murray.