Murray v Federer preview

Brit aims for maiden slam; Swiss ace looking for 17th career major

By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza.   Last Updated: 07/07/12 4:56pm

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Andy Murray and Roger Federer are set to go head-to-head in the Wimbledon men's singles final on Sunday knowing that whatever happens, history will be made.

The World No. 4 can become the first British man to win a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry was victorious at Wimbledon and the US Championships in 1936.

Meanwhile, victory over Murray will take Federer level with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw's record of seven Wimbledon wins.

It would also allow him to reclaim the world number one spot, meaning he would match Sampras' record of 286 weeks at the top and clinch a 17th career Grand Slam crown and his 75th career title in the process.

Not since Bunny Austin in 1938 had someone representing Britain won a men's semi-final at SW19 until, that is, Murray hit a forehand return winner that clipped a sideline to eliminate Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a thrill-a-minute semi-final.

Murray's win in four sets ended a sequence of 11 semi-final defeats for British men at the grass-court citadel.

Challenge

And now the 25-year-old from Dunblane in Scotland is looking forward to the opportunity of facing arguably the greatest player of all time come Sunday afternoon.

"It's a great challenge, one where I'm probably not expected to win the match, but one that, if I play well, I'm capable of winning," Murray said.

"I mean, if you look at his record here over the past 10 years or so, it's been incredible. I've just got to keep it together for the final. It will be one of the biggest matches of my life."

"I've just got to keep it together for the final. It will be one of the biggest matches of my life."
Andy Murray on his first Wimbledon final Quotes of the week

Facing Federer in a grand slam final is not a new experience for Murray, who lost to him at the US Open in 2008 and the Australian Open in 2010, while his other final came in Melbourne last year when he was beaten by Novak Djokovic. The Scot has yet to win a set in a major final.

The one thing going for Murray is the fact that he does lead their head-to-head 8-7 - all on hard courts - but Federer has a phenomenal record on the grass at Wimbledon with an impressive 65 wins against just seven losses in his 14 visits.

Murray's coach of six months, former grand-slam champion Ivan Lendl, has been a big help in keeping him grounded, and the Scot said: "I spoke to Ivan after the match. It was: 'Good job. You did really well. What time do you want to practice tomorrow?' That's it; there's no time for anything else."

The last home winner of a Wimbledon singles title was Virginia Wade in 1977, in the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, with the monarch presenting the Venus Rosewater dish to the champion, and there has already been talk that the Queen might attend the final on Sunday in the year of her Diamond Jubilee.

"I'm not sure if she'll be here on Sunday, but it would be nice," added Murray.

Federer, meanwhile, has reached a modern-record eighth final at the All England Club.

He turns 31 next month, and would be the first man of 30 years or older to win Wimbledon since Arthur Ashe in 1975.

The Swiss ace has made a career out of re-writing the record books, proving without doubt that his powers are not fading.

He almost lost in the third round to Frenchman Julien Benneteau and had back trouble against Xavier Malisse in the fourth, but he delivered an emphatic response by dethroning reigning champion Novak Djokovic in four sets to reach the final.

Federer won the last of his Wimbledon crowns in 2009 and the Basle-born player has been waiting to add to his Grand Slam title collection since lifting the Australian Open trophy in 2010.

Pressure

"There's a lot on the line for me. I'm not denying that. I have a lot of pressure. I'm looking forward to that. Now I have a chance at world number one, at the title again all at once."
Roger Federer ahead of Wimbledon final Quotes of the week

"There's a lot on the line for me. I'm not denying that. I have a lot of pressure. I'm looking forward to that. Now I have a chance at world number one, at the title again all at once."

But Federer is relishing the opportunity of taking on the "local hero" when he walks out to a crescendo of noise on Centre Court.

"I always say in whatever country I am I like to play the local hero, I kind of call them, and Andy is exactly that here at Wimbledon," he said.

When Bunny Austin lost the 1938 final to Don Budge of the United States, he was given a five-pound voucher for a silversmiths, worth around £275 in today's money.

This year's champion will receive £1.15 million, while the runner-up earns £575,000.

And if Murray were to create history and take his place in British tennis folklore, the question has to be asked whether the All England Club will have make room for another bronze statue beside that of Fred Perry's 1936 landmark triumph in the grounds?

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