Andy Murray may not be at the same level as the rest of the Big 4, but he is a formidable player. The Scot has locked horns with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic before. Sometimes he has triumphed, other times, he lost, but he is still a cut above the rest of the pack.
This time, the main focus is on the rivalry between Roger Federer and Andy Murray
#5 Event: Australian Open (QF) Year: 2014
Winner: Federer 6-3 6-4 6-7(6) 6-3
Federer came into the tournament after a miserable 2013, and was looking to get his place back in the semis of a Grand Slam event. Federer broke early in the fourth game with a supreme volley, Murray was struggling to get into form because of Federer’s pace. A break was all it took Roger to serve out the first set. The highlight of the match was a 23 shot rally – which the Scot won, but he was soon down a break and within no time Federer pressed home the advantage to take a 2 sets to love lead. Murray was broken again at 4-4 in the third set. But more was still to come as Federer gave away the chance to close the match with few unforced errors. The Swiss ran away with things in the tiebreak to get to two match points, but Murray ended up saving both. With a forehand error from Federer, Murray came out from the claws of defeat to take the match into fourth set. But the resurgent Swiss made no mistakes in making sure that there was no Murray comeback and served out the match with customary mojo!
#4 Event: ATP Masters Cincinnati (Round of 32) Year: 2006
Winner: Murray 7-5 6-4
Federer made it to the finals in 16 out of the 17 tournaments he played (winning 12 of them, including 3 majors) – the only exception being Cincinnati.
The 19 year old Murray outplayed Federer in the second set after snatching the first one, thanks to some amazing hitting and few unforced errors from the Swiss. Murray was quick and unlike everyone else not named Nadal, he was troubling the genius on the other side of the court. It was probably the biggest upset of the year!
This was also Murray’s FIRST WIN over Federer. Federer then went on to finish the season unbeaten with a 29-0 record that became part of his 41-0 winning streak next year.
#3 Event: Wimbledon (Final) Year: 2012
Winner: Federer 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4
It all started with some windy Centre Court conditions as Andy Murray dominated Federer in baseline rallies. He broke the Swiss to take the first set of his first ever Wimbledon final. But just as things seemed to be in Murray’s favour, the rain gods unleashed their fury. The glorious Centre Court roof was now closed, and with it the chances for another British Champion almost faded away. Federer’s backhand – that was in a whole lot of trouble due to the wind – was simply sublime, in what was now an indoor match played on grass. He could play his shots with a lot more ease and dictate the terms of rallies. He broke in the final game with a supreme drop shot volley to take the second set and there was no stopping the maestro from that point. It was a high quality grass court exhibition as Federer went on to equal Sampras’ 7 Wimbledon title record.
#2 Event: Tennis Masters Cup (Round Robin) Year: 2008
Winner: Murray 4-6 7-6(3) 7-5
One of the finest matches in this rivalry in terms of the quality of tennis and it was a must win match for Federer to stay in the tournament. Federer was on a high, claiming his fifth US Open title, and was the favorite entering this tournament.
His match with Murray in the group stage turned out to be a three set classic. It was a dramatic dual with shifts in momentum. Murray lost the first set and was dominated by Federer – just like in the final of US Open earlier. Andy then took a 5-2 lead but Federer came back in it with some glorious forehand show. Yet, Murray was able to handle this onslaught and took the set in the tiebreak. Roger then needed a medical timeout – for his troublesome back that had bothered him for quite some time. He was down 0-3 before coming back to take the lead 4-3. However, the Swiss star was broken again and at 5-4 to Murray, he had to save 7 match points to stay in the match.
“I almost made a miracle happen, but I couldn’t mix up my serve and that takes away options and surprises.”- said Federer about the effects of his back. Andy Murray said, “Psychologically this win is going to be huge for me when we meet again. “
#1 Event: Australian Open (SF) Year: 2013
Winner: Murray 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2
The emotions and tension touched the extreme in this match. Andy Murray dictated the game and Federer – not at his best – still managed to make it one of the matches of the tournament through his competitiveness and unmatched skill. Federer literally snatched away the second set from Murray with some crisp all court hitting before losing momentum in the third. Murray was serving for the match at 6-5 in the final set, as he played a superb forehand pass that made Federer to utter some words, rather sledge his British opponent. It’s unusual for Federer to lose his cool the way he did. But it did work as Federer went on to take the tiebreak and level the match. But Murray kept his cool and served better than his Swiss opponent to take the fifth set without any difficulty. He was fitter among the two as this 5 set marathon came to its conclusion.
“I’d put myself in a winning position and just had to think to myself what I’d done to get there, then make sure I did it at the beginning of the fifth set.” said Murray