S. Rajesh reports on how Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon title beating Canadian Milos Raonic at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Murray has been for long the less accomplished member of the so-called Big Four who have all won the Career Grand Slam and at least a dozen slams.
But this was the first time he was under the pressure of being the favorite in a Grand Slam final and not facing a player other than Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.
When he won Wimbledon in 2013, he had overcome the weight of expectations from Great Britain to find a home player holding aloft the title for the first time in 77 years.
When the match started after an early spell of rain in the morning, Murray started well and broke in the seventh game of the first set as Raonic missed a forehand volley to the great elation of the crowd.
He soon served out the set with a forehand drop volley. In the second set, Murray had a few chances to break the Raonic serve but he staved them off with some aggressive tennis including big serves and volleys.
It went to a tie-breaker and the key turning point came in the very first point as Raonic missed a simple backhand approach shot on his serve and was soon down 3-0. Murray closed it out 7-3 when Raonic dumped a forehand return into the net.
The whole match hinged on how Murray was able to handle the Raonic serve on grass.
The World No.7 had averaged 23 aces per match and in the final, it was only a total of eight over 3 sets as the British player was able to neutralize the big serve with brilliant returning which kept him in control of the point during the rallies.
While Raonic had to deal with the pressure of a first Grand Slam final, he had to face a Murray who was playing some of the best tennis he was capable of.
The World No.2 showcased the entire variety in his game including excellent defensive skills, strong return and also served big when he had to.
He also mixed up his game to perfection forcing Raonic to play some low volleys or passing him on various occasions.
The British player was also able to handle the fast changing weather conditions with the sunshine alternating with the clouds and it also was quite windy on a few occasions.
The third set too went to a tiebreak after Raonic had missed the couple of breakpoints that could have got him some momentum and raise hopes of a comeback.
But it was not to be as Murray came up with some good tennis and an excellent pass to hold. Murray completed dominated the tie-break hitting some wonderful winners to complete a straightforward win.
Later, Murray said this win was more enjoyable because he had already won Wimbledon earlier.
“It is different. I feel happier this time. You know, I feel like this was sort of more for myself more than anything, and my team as well,” he said.
“We’ve all worked really hard to help get me in this position. You know, last time it was just pure relief, and I didn’t really enjoy the moment as much, whereas I’m going to make sure I enjoy this one more than the others,” he added.
For Raonic, this represented a positive tournament but he vowed to improve his game further in search of an elusive first Grand Slam title.
“I’m not going to leave any stone unturned. I’m going to try to get myself back in this position, try to be better in this position. I’m going to try to get fitter, stronger,” he said.
“I’m going to try to improve my return game, improve my serve. I can improve there. Improve my efficiency coming forward. There’s not one thing that I’m not going to try to improve,” he added.
“Obviously, now we have to focus on what the most important thing is to put as much attention as I can because I can’t focus on everything the whole time,” Raonic said.