by ‘Ifreke Inyang
On Sunday, Andy Murray will strut onto the court to take on Roger Federer in the final of this year’s Wimbledon Grand Slam. Far beyond the forehands, backstrokes and grunts, he will be fighting other battles: The great expectation of the British public, fuelled by the hype the English press have created.
It has been 74 years since a Briton, Fred Perry, emerged as the winner of this Grand Slam. And his country men are strong in their belief that Murray will defeat six-time champion, Federer to create that history.
No. Murray will not shock us all. Look no further than the two semi-finals they were involved in. Murray endured a topsy-turvy game, coasting at one point and struggling at another, before he won Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets. In contrast, Federer showed sublime form to brush aside a surprisingly out-of-sorts world number one, Novak Djokovic, in four sets.
Murray has always been a bridesmaid – he doesn’t have a Grand Slam title to his name yet. He reached the finals of the 2008 US Open, the 2010 Australian Open and the 2011 Australian Open but lost the first two to Federer and the third to Djokovic.
Possibly aware of the herculean task he will face, the 25-year-old has rather been keen to downplay expectations.
“I’m probably not expected to win the match, but it is one that, if I play well, I’m capable of winning,” he said.
“His record here has been incredible, so the pressure will be less on me because of who he is.”
He however, was quick to mix it up with a bit of optimism. “My coaches will watch Roger’s matches this week and from when I played him before but I try not to watch before I play against him.
“I’ve learnt from those matches that I lost against him in the past. If you go too much into detail of things that happened in the past, it’s not always beneficial, because in tennis every day is different.”
I do feel sorry for him though. Not only will Federer return to the top of the rankings, he will also equal Pete Sampras’ open-era record of seven Wimbledon men’s singles titles with a victory. And that is the history that will be made.