LONDON: Andy Murray vowed to come back stronger than ever after a heartbreaking four-set Wimbledon final defeat against Roger Federer left the distraught Scot crying tears of frustration on Center Court.
Murray had hoped to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, but his dreams were dashed as Federer recovered from a slow start to claim the seventh All England Club title of his magnificent career.
It was a devastating blow for Murray, who has played some of the best tennis of his life over the last two weeks but is now on a miserable run of four defeats in his four Grand Slam final appearances.
The 25-year-old, who broke down in tears during an emotional on-court interview immediately after the match, was still understandably sombre when he fulfilled his media commitments after briefly returning to the locker room.
But, despite his obvious angst at falling short in his home Grand Slam, the world No. 4 believes the way he took the fight to Federer in the first two sets proves he has the game to eventually win one of the four majors.
“I’d say that’s the best I’ve played in a slam final. I created chances and went up a set. Even the last two sets, I still had chances,” said Murray, who had been trying to become Britain’s first Wimbledon men’s champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
“It wasn’t like I gave away bad games or stupid games. I played a good match and made pretty good decisions for the most part, so I’m happy with that.
“I felt more comfortable this morning and before the match than I had done in the previous slam finals.
“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.
“It was my first time in a Wimbledon final. I’d never been there before. I’m still improving, still playing better tennis, which is all I can do.”
Murray is widely regarded as the best player of his generation never to have won a Grand Slam and he has been especially unfortunate to come up against Federer in three of his major finals.
Losing to the 17-time Grand Slam winner doesn’t make it any easier for Murray to stomach, but he said he could have few complaints about the result.
“Every loss has been different. Today’s pretty hard because you’re playing in front of a crowd like that and your whole family has come to watch,” he said.
“But he played very, very well in the last two sets especially. When the roof closed he played unbelievable tennis.
“Was it my best chance? I don’t know. I lost to a guy that’s now won this tournament seven times and is No. 1 in the world. So if that’s your best chance, then ...
“We’re talking about one of the greatest athletes of all time here. We’ve got to put it in context a little bit.”
Murray has never been completely accepted by the British sporting public because of his sometimes bad tempered demeanor, but that should change after his tearful post-match speech.
“I’d be playing the wrong sport if I wasn’t emotional,” Murray said.
“I just said sorry to Roger. I didn’t want that to happen. You feel like you’re kind of attention seeking or something. It wasn’t like that at all.
“I knew it would be hard when they asked me if I wanted to do the interview. I don’t know if I wanted to do it, but I tried.
“He just laughed and said ‘This is meant to be the easy part, doing the speeches after the match.’ But sometimes it feels quite hard compared with playing a tennis match.”
After such a painful defeat, a mentally drained Murray plans to take time off before beginning his preparations for the Olympics and the U.S. Open.
“There’s no point in going on the court until my mind is right.”