Tennis Elbow: Flipping the script
July 9, 2012 · Print This Article
In the movie, it would have been so much different.
In the movie, Andy Murray would have lost the first set, won the second, lost the third and, down three match points at 2-5 in the fourth, crawled back, won the fourth set in the tiebreak and then decimated Roger Federer in the final set. In the movie, Andy Murray would have hit a 200-km/h serve out wide to Federer’s forehand and then hit the ensuing volley in the open court. In the movie, the ball would have bounced twice, Andy Murray would have broken down in tears, ran to his box, embraced his mother, then his coach Ivan Lendl and possibly his girlfriend, and a few minutes later, would have been presented with the Gentlemen’s singles trophy by the Duke of Kent, Prince Edward. Murray would have smiled, thanked his supporters and congratulated Roger Federer on a great match.
In the movie, Andy Murray would have won.
But the 2012 men’s singles Wimbledon final wasn’t a movie. It was a tough match between Great Britain’s Andy Murray and Switzerland’s Roger Federer. And we all should have known better–the odds were against Murray winning Wimbledon, because a Murray win would have been the Hollywood ending. And real life is messy while Hollywood endings aren’t.
But early on in the match, Andy Murray sure wasn’t messy nor was he missing many shots. All of us sitting at home and watching the match on television witnessed a dominant Murray taking control of the match. The native of Scotland didn’t appear fazed by the fact that about 62 million people–all of them, residents of the United Kingdom–wanted him to win. Rather than paralyzing him, it seemed to free him. We all witnessed, also, Murray addressing this precise point after the match and saying that it’s “easier,” not tougher, to play your best when you have the crowd cheering you on.
Murray won the first set 6-4 and we were all witnesses, his mother too. She was a witness to a tight second set, one where Roger Federer managed to break Murray’s serve in the final game. It was a gorgeous backhand volley, and it did the trick–the match was tied at one set apiece.
The beginning of the third set was uneventful, until it rained. We were all witnesses, including Mirka Federer, when play was halted due to a sudden rain. But soon enough, the roof closed and the players finally resumed the match–Mirka witnessed, like all of us, the game where everything turned. At 3-2 for Federer, she saw him win a 26-point, 20-minute game where Federer needed all of six break points and where Murray slipped and fell on the grass all of three times.
That made it 4-2, then 5-2 and, soon enough, Federer was leading two sets to 1 after taking the third 6-3. Kate Middleton, her sister Pippa, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Victoria and David Beckham, who all attended the match, probably thought it was over for Murray.
And you know what? It pretty much was.
Ivan Lendl, Murray’s coach who, like his pupil now, also lost his first four Grand Slam finals, could only look as his pupil lost 6-4 in the fourth and final set, then laboured through an emotional and heartfelt speech for the Wimbledon crowd. Lendl will be a privileged witness to how Murray rebounds from this loss, where he tried becoming the first British player since 1936 to win the sport’s most prestigious tournament that also happens to be played in England.
In the end, once Federer had won the final point on a missed forehand by Murray, the 30-year-old’s twin daughters were on hand, witnessing everything. They were smiling and waving to their father. That, more than anything else, told the whole tale. And it was and is a great one.
by: Charles Blouin-Gascon