If it wasn’t done already, this 16 should cement it once and for all. Sampras may have heaved a huge sigh of relief subconsciously knowing that he didn’t miss the GOAT title by a whisker. He has been trumped overwhelmingly to offer solace and satisfaction in what he achieved without reaching beyond his borders.
This win over an opponent six-year younger, as a father of two kids, also unquestionably cements the fact that no one so far can dethrone Federer – other than Nadal. I mean, this was clearly the brightest of the bunch by far going down in flames in three straight freaking sets – with absolutely zero extenuating circumstances.
Murray was obviously way off the form he displayed against Nadal in the semis lending credibility to the pressure theories his nation and Federer poured on before the Slam final. How else can you explain such lopsided losses on the big stage after posting a winning record everywhere else?
Murray engaged just one leg of the two-legged animal needed to milk Federer’s weaker wing. He failed to capitalize on the open court consistently. Whenever he did he almost always won every one of those points either outright or by gaining control of the rally.
Federer realized Murray’s reluctance and patiently and safely kept plugging his backhand without going overboard thereby virtually eliminating all unforced errors from either side. In the end Murray became so predictable without teeth that it’s wonder Federer didn’t close it lot sooner and with lot more pain.
For Federer this was familiar territory. He was in the midst of one losing streak after another similar to the start of last year’s season when he lost the AO and everything else – only to come back and salvage all that and more by winning two back to back Slams. Win here puts him back in control after doubts started creeping since Basel from last season.
Is that a sign that consciously or subconsciously Federer has moved on from anything not called a Slam? Numbers certainly point to that, don’t you think?
This story line makes tennis and fans miss Nadal even more. The two are just made for each other both on and off the court to push the sport to new heights. Without that worthy foil the march into history somehow lacks the spark and brilliance it deserves.
Nevertheless, this was a massively entertaining Slam with Cilic may be the next closest winner to Federer in real terms while Murray and Nadal are left swinging on the other platform.