Gold, not tears, this time for Murray
Updated: 2012-08-06 11:48:24
LONDON - For Britain's Andy Murray every cloud has a golden lining.
Four weeks after the Scot cried his eyes out after losing to Switzerland's majestic Roger Federer in his first Wimbledon final, he returned to a sunlit Center Court to exact sweet revenge and walk off with an Olympic gold medal.
Murray is yet to win a Grand Slam title, the real hard currency for tennis players, but on Sunday he produced the match of his life, riding the wave of Olympic euphoria sweeping across the land to thrash the world number one 6-2 6-1 6-4.
"It's worth it. I've had a lot of tough losses in my career, but this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final. I'll never forget it," Murray told reporters before returning to court partner teenager Laura Robson in the mixed doubles final.
Unlike the old saying about London's buses - you wait for ages, then two come along one after the other - another gold was not forthcoming as they were beaten in a lively tussle with Belarussians Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka.
A statue of Fred Perry, the last British man to win the actual Wimbledon men's singles title back in sepia-tinted 1936, stands in the grounds - a reminder of the nation's tennis under-achievement throughout the decades, but for two golden hours on Sunday Murray wiped away the years of hurt.
Seven-times Wimbledon champion Federer, in most people's book the greatest player of all time, walked on to his favorite court one victory away from claiming a career "golden slam" by adding Olympic singles gold to his record 17 Grand Slam titles.
He trudged off dejected after suffering his worst ever defeat at Wimbledon since his sublime talent first graced the lawns of west London in 1999.
"For me, it's been a great month. I won Wimbledon, became world number one again, and I got silver. Don't feel too bad for me," was 30-year-old Federer's classy response to what in all intents and purposes was a shellacking.
Murray, whose every winner was accompanied by deafening roars, was utterly dominant, dishing out the kind of punishment that Federer has been inflicting on opponents throughout a career that has earned him $77 million in prize money but will probably not now include a cherished Olympic singles medal.
From 2-2 in the first set, Murray went on a nine-game rampage to rip the gold medal away from Federer's grasp.
Peppering the corners with groundstrokes of effortless power he kept the Swiss off the scoreboard for nearly an hour mid-match and by the time Federer did notch a game, at 0-5 in the second set the match was as good as over.
Murray was in no mood to let Federer off the hook as he had done in the Wimbledon final, when he fell away after winning the opening set. He was relentless.
He finished it off with an ace before climbing into the stands to embrace his family and coaching team as the delirious crowd chanted "Andy, Andy".
To think that once upon a time, when he was a sulky, surly teenager, British fans could not warm to him.