LONDON – Britain’s Andy Murray believes his Olympic triumph will provide the perfect springboard to break his Grand Slam drought.
Murray produced the performance of a lifetime to win his first Olympic gold medal with a crushing 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 demolition of world No. 1 Roger Federer in the men’s final Sunday.
The 25-year-old’s astonishing display avenged his heart-breaking Wimbledon final defeat against Federer last month, but more importantly for Murray it provided concrete evidence that he can win these kind of high-stakes encounters with the world’s best players.
Murray has been beaten in four Grand Slam finals and some suggested the world No. 4 was destined to be remembered as a nearly-man who fell short of the standards set by Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
At times, Murray has also doubted whether he could match-up to those three giants of the men’s game and that nagging feeling triggered his tearful reaction to losing the Wimbledon final.
But now Murray has banished those demons by humiliating seven-time Wimbledon champion Federer on Centre Court and he believes that is the perfect preparation for a renewed assault on the majors, starting at the US Open in New York later this month.
“It will help with the way I go into this kind of match,” Murray said. “Come US Open time I hope this will have given me the confidence to go in there and believe in myself a bit more than I have in the past. “I should give myself a shot at winning there. I played very well at the US Open in the past. It’s a surface I like playing on. I hope I can have a good run there.”
Murray’s dominance of Federer was so complete that he didn’t drop a serve in the entire match and lost only one point on his serve in the final set.
Federer has rarely been so brutally dispatched and it was the kind of jaw-dropping display that took even Murray by surprise.
There has been a new-found maturity and muscularity about Murray’s play since losing at Wimbledon. “I think a combination of learning from all of those defeats, the Wimbledon final especially, will have gone into today’s match,” he said.
Murray also picked up a silver in mixed doubles when he and Laura Robson lost to Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirnyi of Belarus 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 (8).
Federer said the draining semifinal “might have cost him” against Murray, though he praised the Briton for executing a forceful game plan that stopped him from getting his “teeth” into the match. — AFP