WIMBLEDON, England — The headline in the Times of London said exactly what many Brits are thinking: “Finally it’s not Federer or Djokovic.”
Yes, at last Andy Murray, the homeboy, will play for the championship of a tennis Grand Slam and will not be facing either of the men — Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic — who the last few years have been the best in the sport.
In Sunday’s Wimbledon men’s final, Murray the Scot — the English papers too often refer to him just as a Brit — will play Milos Raonic, 25, who not only is the first Canadian male to get this far but the first ever to make it to the final round in any of the four major tournaments.
It will be the 11th Grand Slam final for Murray, 29, with the previous 10 against either Djokovic or Federer, and the third at Wimbledon, where he lost to Federer in 2012 and beat Djokovic in 2013.
Murray has been in the finals of all three Slams this year, losing to Djokovic in the Australian and the French. He’s comfortable.
Three weekends ago, Murray won Queens for a fifth time, defeating Raonic in the final in one of the grass-court preludes to Wimbledon. But Murray said, “I’m aware I’ll have to play a very good match if I want to win Wimbledon. I was down a set and a break at Queens. Hopefully I’ll come out firing.”
Raonic certainly will. The serve is his weapon. At 6-5, he’s known as one of the hardest servers in the game, if not the hardest, recording speeds of more than 140 mph.
Ivan Lendl, the Czech who never won Wimbledon, is one of Murray’s coaches, and John McEnroe, who won it three times, is one of Raonic’s.
“It gives actually a bit of extra confidence,” Murray said, referring to Lendl, “because I know last time we worked together, it was very successful. I trust in what he says.”
What McEnroe did for Raonic was get him to be more emotional, which certainly wasn’t a problem for McEnroe when he played.
“I think he’s definitely put an emphasis on it,” Raonic said. “I try to calm myself down. He says, ‘There’s no too calm for you. You tend to be too calm. Try to get energy out of you, try to get it out of you on court and leave it all out there, try to get the most out of yourself.’ ”
That has worked so far. But will it for the sixth-seeded Raonic against the second-seeded Murray? Murray has all the shots, moves very well and will have virtually all of the 14,000 fans at Centre Court cheering for him.
“That is,” Murray said, “a nice advantage.”