Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates match point during his Gentlemen's Singles final match against Andy Murray of Great Britain on day 13 of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on July 8, 2012 in London.
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CLEVELAND - Andy Murray broke down in tears on Centre Court after losing at Wimbledon Sunday. He played a good match, the best he ever has in a grand slam final – and it still wasn’t enough.
It’s tough being fourth best when the three guys ahead of you are the greatest of all-time and two who could fight for that distinction in time.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are on an unparalleled run of dominance in the game of tennis, maybe in all of sports. As Mike Tirico said following Federer’s seventh Wimbledon title Sunday, they have a “stranglehold on the hardware.”
These three men have won 31 of the past 33 grand slams. That’s eight years worth of supremacy, almost an eternity in a sport where longevity is rarely a player’s friend.
The last time one of the three were not in a grand slam final was all the way back in 2005 at the Australian Open. It’s rare these days that at least two, if not all three, don’t reach the semifinals.
Federer, Nadal and Djokovic suck away the dreams of others and even thwart each other’s. Federer crushed Andy Roddick’s Wimbledon dream in 2004. As if once wasn’t enough, Federer did it again in 2009 in even more heartbreaking fashion, a 16-14 fifth set victory over the American. Roddick has not since returned to a grand slam final.
In 2008, it was Nadal who did it to Federer, squashing his dream of a sixth consecutive championship at the All England Club.
On Sunday, Federer made Murray cry. Well, maybe it wasn’t just Federer. There was a lot more in play – a first grand slam for Murray, the hopes of a nation trying to quench a 76-year thirst for a title.
It was all so much for Murray that he lost it in front of the thousands watching on Centre Court, the millions across the world. Real, raw emotion came flooding out of Britain’s current great hope.
Years ago, it was “Henman Hill” that became the breeding ground for England’s Wimbledon fantasies. Now, they call the place where crowds converge to watch show court matches on a big screen TV “Murray Mount.”
Just by reaching the final, Murray did more than Tim Henman, a four-time Wimbledon semifinalist who could never get past that round, could ever muster. Murray’s loss was his fourth in a grand slam final, three to Federer, one to Djokovic.
Now, we must wait and see if Murray has something in him to make his own legacy. Right now, it is the three men ahead of him who are sowing its seeds.
You may think that at just 25 years old, Murray will one day get his chance to shine. But while Federer is 30, Djokovic is also 25 and Nadal only one year older. They’re not likely going away anytime soon.
We know Murray wants it. That was more than evident from his show of emotions. He must now figure out some way to slay not one, not two, but three Goliaths. Through no fault of his own, Murray must try extra hard not to be defined as “the other guy.”
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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