When Murray began crying after his loss to Roger Federer post the Wimbledon final in 2012, we all thought, “Oh no, not again.” It wasn’t the first time that the Briton had broken down after a defeat. Each time, he promised, that he would bounce back with better performances, but didn’t, or rather couldn’t. He was only consistent at crying—something everyone hated him for.
As Federer held the Wimbledon trophy aloft, Murray wept inconsolably.
While the media continued to criticize the ‘cry baby’, on a lighter note, even Murray confessed after his US Open final defeat to Roger in 2010, “I can cry like Roger, it’s a shame I just can’t play like him.”
The Scot played fantastic tennis at times, went close, but not close enough to bag a Grand Slam title. When he was asked what he felt after the Wimbledon final loss to Federer, "I`m getting closer," Murray said fighting tears on the Centre Court.
But Murray was determined to show that he had it in him to beat the best. Within a span of two months, he defeated Roger Federer in front of his home crowd, depriving him of an Olympic gold. And the Briton also got the monkey off his back by defeating Novak Djokovic to win his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open last year. One could see the marked improvement in Murray’s game since the Wimbledon final defeat. Since then, h
e had not only grown adept at controlling his emotions better, but also begun playing some incredible tennis.
Towards the end of the Wimbledon final against Fedex last year, it felt like it dawned on him that he was facing Federer, which is when he faltered. But when he played against the same formidable foe in the Australian Open final on Friday, I reckon he was doing that as the Britain’s No. 1 player.
On Friday at the Melbourne Park, it wasn’t for the first time that Roger Federer left the court to a rousing reception from the crowd. It wasn’t for the first time that a Grand Slam semi-final had lasted for five sets. It wasn’t for the first time that Andy Murray had defeated Roger Federer in a crucial match. But for the first time in his career, Murray overcame Federer in a Grand Slam and didn’t shed a tear.
The last thing Murray would want to do is believe that he has become a better player than Federer, or he can now defeat him comprehensively in upcoming Grand Slam matches, as the 31-year-old remains to be the finest player the game has ever produced. And not to forget, Murray would be tested once the illustrious Spanish, Rafael Nadal, returns. But for the time being, he deserves all the credit for the quality of tennis he has displayed.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)