2012 IN REVIEW
Rivalries 2012 - Federer vs. Murray
by ATP Staff|
In 2012, Andy Murray was on a mission. Very few players have winning head-to-heads against arguably the greatest player of all time, Roger Federer. Murray is one such individual, who could boast an 8-6 advantage over Federer going into the 2012 season. However, while he may have recorded some notable wins over the Swiss, including in the finals of the 2010 Rogers Cup and Shanghai Rolex Masters, the Scot was yet to topple Federer in a best-of-five set encounter.
In the two Grand Slam finals they had contested, at the 2008 US Open and the 2010 Australian Open, it was Federer who had always prevailed without the loss of a set. With new coach Ivan Lendl in his corner, could Murray change that this season against a Federer who some claimed was beginning to fade at the age of 30? They had not played since the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, remarkably not crossing paths in 2011.
Their rivalry resumed in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February. Federer had shaken off defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals to rebound with victory in Rotterdam and kept up his run of form in the desert, clinching his 33rd win in 35 matches as he defeated Murray 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 36 minutes.
One couldn’t have written the script better for the stage of their next meeting. At the All England Club, in the final of The Championships, Federer was going for a 17th Grand Slam championship and a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon crown. In contrast, Murray yearned to finally win his first major title and become the first British male to win The Championships since Fred Perry in 1936. It looked promising for the Scot when he won the first set – the first time he had won a set in a Grand Slam final – but Federer came roaring back to inflict more heartache on Murray, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
As he had in Melbourne two years earlier, Murray choked up during the trophy presentation. Receiving a standing ovation from the British public for his efforts, the Scot was left to reflect on a fourth Grand Slam final defeat – the third at the hands of Federer - and sobbed, “I'm getting closer. I was getting asked the other day after I won my semi-final, 'Is this your best chance? Roger's 30 now.' He's not bad for a 30 year old!”
"He'll at least win one Grand Slam. This is what I hope for Andy,” promised Federer, who would see his statement ring true three months later at the US Open when Murray toppled Novak Djokovic in the final. However, it was a clutch win over Federer himself just four weeks after the Wimbledon final that proved the catalyst for Murray.
The pair stepped onto the hallowed turf of Centre Court once again to contest the gold medal match at the London 2012 Olympics. This time, Murray was not letting anything or anyone stand in his way of becoming the first British man to win a singles gold medal in 104 years. Having revisited Centre Court in the intervening period to rid himself of his demons, the Dunblane native ruthlessly dismissed Federer, who had played a 4hr., 26min., semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, to claim what he hailed as "the biggest win of my life.
“This week's been absolutely incredible; I've had a lot of fun. I felt so fresh on the court today. I didn't feel nervous really at all, apart from at the beginning of the match. The support's been unbelievable."
A new man following his exploits over the summer, Murray came out on top again when he played Federer in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters in October. In a dominant and aggressive display, the Scot won 6-4, 6-4 in a rain-delayed clash that lasted one hour and 38 minutes.
Federer had the last word, though. In their final clash of the season, on Remembrance Sunday in London, Federer defeated Murray 7-6(5) 6-2 in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – their third match of the season to be played in the English capital.
"Of course, I was looking at having lost the last two matches against him, so I thought it was up to me to change things around really and come up with a game plan that maybe was different than at the Olympics or Shanghai," said Federer. "The pressure was really on me. I'm happy with what I chose with my coaching staff today.”
At the close of the season both players can reflect on remarkable campaigns and Murray with the knowledge that he does have what it takes to beat Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal over five sets on the biggest of stages. “There wasn’t a stroke in particular that I changed this year, it was just a mentality,” commented Murray. Should he and Federer meet in a fourth Grand Slam final in 2013, will the Swiss still hold his number?
Federer vs. Murray: 2012 Meetings
|Dubai Final||Federer||75 64|
|Wimbledon Final||Federer||46 75 63 64|
|Olympics Final||Murray||62 61 64|
|Shanghai SF||Murray||64 64|
|Barclays ATP World Tour Finals SF||Federer||76(5) 62|