How Andy Murray delivered a defensive masterclass in the Wimbledon 2016 final

  • Gaurav Bhatt, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 11, 2016 18:38 IST
Britain’s Andy Murray (left) poses with the Wimbledon trophy along with runner up Milos Raonic of Canada. (AP Photo)

In Sunday’s Wimbledon final, a patient Andy Murray slowly and steadily dismantled the Milos Raonic’s missile serves, chipping away with his efficient returns and counter-punching. We look at the key factors.

Return trumped serve

During his run to the final, Raonic had averaged 25 aces a match, and had a win percentage of 81 on first serve. In the final, those figures dropped to 67 per cent and eight. Conversely, Murray won 87 per cent of points on his first serve and served seven aces.

Murray kept getting the ball back, even one that whizzed in at 147mph (236kmph) serve -- the second-fastest serve at Wimbledon ever.

It was just one of those days.

Serve and volley fails again

Raonic had won 76 per cent of serve and volley approaches coming into the final. In the semifinal, the Canadian won 16 of his 19 approaches, even outscoring one of the few proponents of the art left, Roger Federer (11 of 16).

Against the baseliner extraordinaire Murray, Raonic’s percentage fell to 64 per cent. Murray kept passing Raonic, who could only win 46 of his 74 net points. Murray won 49 per cent of his baseline points in the final, while Raonic struggled from the back of the court too, winning only 32 per cent.

The idea was right, the execution wasn’t.

One more ball

Raonic’s average rally length on his serve up to the final was around 2.5 shots. On Sunday, it was four shots as Murray kept putting one more ball in play. The Scot stayed in play and forced Raonic to go for more. And it showed. Murray covered 2,367m, compared to the 2,430m run by Raonic.

Raonic also had 29 unforced errors, including 21 in the first two sets. Murray had a total of 12.

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