Rray revving up nicely
Murray, who had taken care of Nicolas Mahut, Aljaz Bedene, Kyle Edmund and Marin Cilic to get this far, said this was a special achievement at a tournament where he had won his first matches as a professional back in 2005. It wasn’t only the watching McEnroe who he surpassed: the one-time Superbrat was one of an illustrious list of four-time winners of this title, along with Boris Becker, Roy Emerson, Lleyton Hewit, Andy Roddick, Anthony Wilding and Major Ritchie. “It’s a tournament that obviously means a lot to me,” he said. “It’s not like I have had some sort of easy finals.”
It took a perfectionist to suggest that his best play, once again, had come when cornered. The really bad news for the rest of the field is that, with the benefit of a week’s unfettered preparation – he will give himself Tuesday and Saturday off – he plans to be even better by the time Wimbledon ticks round.
“Obviously you don’t want to get yourself in tough situations,” said Murray. “But today was the one match really where I was behind. My best tennis is there. And I’m happy with that.”
Murray conceded that Raonic may well be in the mix in the majors from now on, particularly on the faster surfaces, but then we knew that from the five-set tussle between these two in the Australian Open semi-finals. Like many knocked out opponents in Murray’s beloved boxing, he went away dreaming of a re-match at SW19. “Hopefully I can maybe have a re-match in a couple of Sundays’ time.” We’ll see about that, but on Father’s Day one new dad had proved he was the daddy of them all at this venue.
WINNING RETURN: A delighted Ivan Lendl back in Team Murray