Murray can’t end British drought at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England — Hope turned to disappointment one more time for Andy Murray and British tennis.
Murray stood closer to the Wimbledon title Sunday than any British man had in three-quarters of a century, two sets away from ending one of the longest waits in British sports.
But he also stood across the net from Roger Federer, who knows better than anyone how to win on Centre Court, and who wasn’t about to let “Murray Mania” get in the way of a title.
Federer took advantage of a rain delay and a closed roof to outplay Murray the last two sets, assuring that the wait for a homegrown men’s Wimbledon champion still has a way to go.
“I’m getting closer,” a teary-eyed Murray told the Centre Court crowd after losing to Federer 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
It was the closest any British man had been since Fred Perry won his last Wimbledon title in 1936. Murray had already taken Wimbledon hysteria to a new level at home by becoming the first British man to even reach the final since 1938, when Bunny Austin lost in straight sets.
For the fourth time in four Grand Slam finals, Murray was left to give the runner-up’s acceptance speech. With his voice cracking, Murray thanked the crowd for sticking by him yet again.
“Everybody always talks about the pressure of playing at Wimbledon, how tough it is,” said Murray, who lost in the semifinals the last three years. “It’s not the people watching. They make it so much easier to play. The support has been incredible, so thank you.”
With the country so eager to see a homegrown champion in its most prestigious annual sports event, the Royal Box on Centre Court was filled with dignitaries, politicians and celebrities. Among them was Prime Minister David Cameron; Prince William’s wife, the former Kate Middleton; and David Beckham.
“It’s not an easy tournament for British players in many ways, but I think I dealt with all of the extra things away from the tournament pretty well, better than maybe I had done in the past,” Murray said. “So I’m still improving, still playing better tennis, trying to improve, which is all I can do.”
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