LONDON — There was hardly a dry eye at Wimbledon as Andy Murray fell short Sunday to tennis legend Roger Federer, who powered his way to a seventh victory in the English grass-court, Grand Slam classic.
Murray had the crowd and the country — from his homeland of Scotland down to London — holding its collective breath in hope of finally seeing one of their own win the Wimbledon men’s singles after 76 years. But it was not to be.
The Murray family was overcome with emotion, mother Judy Murray who coached her son in his early years, his girlfriend, Kim Sears, who broke down in tears, and Murray himself choking up as he paid tribute to Federer and to his own supporters. “Thanks to everyone who has supported me. You did a great job. It's always tough,” he managed to say.
Murray told a BBC interviewer later, “I was really upset at the end because ... when I play at Wimbledon I feel that support and I want to try and obviously win for the nation, and I was upset I couldn’t do it.”
But after the tears, Judy Murray tweeted, “Lots to celebrate…. Amazing day. Amazing tourney. Amazing son.”
“It would have been great for Britain if he’d won,” said tennis fan Miryam Dragonetti, 33, a mother of three. “But it was fantastic play, really exciting up to the last set, where I felt Murray was beginning to lose it.”
The streets of Murray’s home town of Dunblane in Scotland emptied as townsfolk watched their local hero on TV screens at home, in bars and at the clubhouse where the young Murray took his first tennis lessons. After the grueling three-hour, 20-minute court struggle ended in heartbreaking defeat to the pride of Switzerland, the small town filled with disappointed but supportive fans.
One of them, Ian Conway, vice president of Scotland's national tennis association and a longtime friend of the Murrays, told a BBC-TV interviewer that the tears were understandable after such a battle against a great player such as Federer who has now won 17 Grand Slam tourneys. At the same time, “Andy will have learned a lot from it, he’ll be back, please believe it — the nation will be behind him.”
— Janet Stobart
Photo: Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts after losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon men's tennis finals Sunday in London. Credit: Paul Gilham / Getty Images.