In the end, it was simple, straightforward, clinical; brutal even. The ghosts of a few weeks past had been erased. Andy Murray had done it. He was overwhelmed, yes but in a strange sense, he was underwhelmed; perhaps he could not fathom the scoreline himself. Perhaps he just could not believe that he had finally done it. Perhaps it was a bit too much or perhaps it was a dream.
It most certainly was not.
One did get the feeling that today was going to be something else; something not quite on the lines of the Wimbledon final. One sensed that today was not quite going to the extremes of that final a few weeks ago. One did sense something else in Andy Murray – something that was, well, for the lack of a better word, free.
When he strode out, there was a purpose. In every shot that he played, there was intent and most importantly, in everything he did, there was confidence. Not once did the shoulders slump; not once was there that all-too-familiar expression of self-loathing. There was a dull determination. There was steel.
The circumstances did make it easier than the other final. One may safely assume that this writer has gone out of his mind making such a blasphemous statement. After all, it was Murray’s home Olympics and he was representing not Andy Murray and his player’s box but was representing a nation; one that was not just Scotland. He was representing a greater nation – a great Britain. Please; bear with the author, for he shall explain.
The Olympics were held at Wimbledon. There can be no doubting that. Or can there? The tennis event of the London 2012 Olympics was held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The event was not held at Wimbledon. Wimbledon is held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. However, Wimbledon is so much more.
The tennis event at the Olympics, for one, does not have the holier-than-thou halo hanging over its head. The attire is not restricted to white-and-white. There is a generous dash of colour. The crowds do not have the quiet undertones of restrain that the crowds at Wimbledon have. Granted, there is boisterousness in Wimbledon, but there is always an invisible line that one simply does not cross. At the Olympics, there is none of that.
The crowd still loves Roger. However, they cheer even louder for Andy, nay, they cheer for Great Britain for, in the end, Andy’s victory is part of a greater whole – the medal tally of Great Britain. There is admiration, certainly, for Roger but it is a quiet admiration in the hope that he play beautifully, but lose respectfully.
There is, in a strange way, a great weight lifted off Andy. He does, if the world is to be believed, represent the hopes of a nation, but conversely, if Andy loses, Great Britain loses. Besides, a silver medal is not as bad as a silver plate. There is no Fred Perry. There is no first Briton to reach the final. There is no dogma and most importantly, there are a hundred other events that vie for the attention of the nation.
Let’s face it. The man may be the same but the majesty of Federer in white is something unparalleled. A white shirt with a gold trip inspires awe; a red shirt with a Swiss flag, not so much. Andy, for his part, is dressed in his native blue. He is at home; he is free; he is relaxed.
Do not underestimate the conditions that led to the victory. All the above mentioned and a few more. Do not underestimate the number of sets each match comprised of coming into the final. It is indeed a factor. Do not underestimate something as simple as colored clothing.
Having said all that, take nothing away from Andy. The victory was his and his alone; to him at least. To the medal tally, it is a victory to Great Britain. He played an immaculate game and he won. He was imperious and ruthless. He was brilliant.
He is the Olympic gold medallist.