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Return of the king

sports Updated: Jul 09, 2012 01:48 IST
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An irresistible Roger Federer won his seventh Wimbledon title with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 victory over a valiant Andy Murray on Sunday, dashing the world No4's hopes of becoming the first Briton to win the men's singles title in 76 years. The Swiss extended his record grand slam tally to 17 with a performance full of class and the win will send him back to the top of the world rankings for the first time since 2010.

Murray was unable to hold back the tears after a fourth grand slam final defeat from as many attempts – three of them to Federer – and when addressing the crowd, he was unable to keep it together.

"I'm getting closer," he said, as his voice started breaking. He then had to step away from the microphone before returning to say: "I'm gonna try. This is not going to be easy. Firstly I'd like to congratulate Roger. I was asked the other day: 'Is this your best chance, Roger is 30 now?' He's not bad for a 30-year-old. He played a great tournament. I know he had some struggles with his back but he showed what fight he had. He deserves it.

"I'll try not to look at him as I'll start [crying] again. Thanks to everyone who has supported me. You did a great job. It's always tough.

"And last of all to the crowd. Everyone always talks about the pressure of playing a Wimbledon and how tough it is. You make it so much easier to play. The support has been incredible. Thank you."

Denying the Scot
Two and a half years after his last Grand Slam title – when he beat Murray in the final of the Australian Open – the 30-year-old Federer recovered from a set down to deny the Scot in a match that began under sunny skies but the last two sets of which were played under the Centre Court roof.

The victory means Federer equals the all-time record for men's singles titles at Wimbledon, held by William Renshaw and Pete Sampras. He will also equal Sampras's record of 286 weeks at No1 when the rankings are updated on Monday.

An enormous roar from the packed crowd greeted Murray as he arrived on court, the first Briton in a Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin in 1938, and the 25-year-old responded with a superb performance, denied only by the brilliance of Federer, whose game improved dramatically when the roof was closed for the third game of the third set.

Up against history
Murray, who was attempting to emulate Fred Perry's 1936 triumph, had not won a set in his three previous grand slam finals but strangely it was Federer who looked nervous at first, dropping serve in the opening game as Murray led 2-0.

He hit back to level at 2-2 and at 3-4 he had two chances to extend his lead but Murray saved them both and then – after forcing Federer to take evasive action with one forehand – he broke to lead 5-4 before serving out for the set.

The crowd were beginning to believe and after saving a break point in his first service game of the second set it was Murray who had the upper hand, forcing Federer to save break points in two of his service games, at 2-2 and 4-4. He looked on the rack but out of nowhere he broke Murray with two brilliantly played points to level the match.