Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray and 62 million citizens of Great Britain Sunday to win his 7th Wimbledon championship and his 17th major championship. Federer cemented his status as the greatest male tennis player that has ever lived by also incredibly climbing back to #1 in the world at the age of 30. The four set victory in the Wimbledon Final was just as notable for the performance of Murray, though. The first Brit to appear in the Final since 1938, and seeking to be the first British champion since 1936, Murray won the first set before succombing to Federer’s elegance.
But in defeat, Andy Murray provided one of the most poignant moments of the year in sports. It was just a brief reminder about why we care way more than we should about these games. As Murray addressed his home crowd, he started breaking up to the massive cheers at Center Court in a scene that will stand as one of the most memorable at Wimbledon.
Some bonus thoughts on ESPN’s Wimbledon coverage after the jump…
ESPN took over full control of Wimbledon this year from NBC. Like the network’s soccer coverage, the way ESPN does tennis brings out the best of Bristol. It’s understated and focuses on the actual event instead of the debates and stories created about the event. It’s almost like these two weeks at Wimbledon were a vacation from the neverending caterwauling of noise that’s all too common.
The coverage isn’t perfect as some of the conflicts of interest have been well documented, but I generally like all of ESPN’s tennis personalities. From Chris McKendry and Hannah Storm in the studio to Chris Evert, Darren Cahill, Mary Jo Fernandez, Brad Gilbert and the McEnroe brothers to Cliff Drysdale, Mike Tirico, and Chris Fowler. Top to bottom this is a really good group.
Chris Fowler has taken on the lead play by play role and done it very well, partnering with Chris Evert for the women’s final and John & Patrick McEnroe for the men’s final. Sorry… I meant Ladies’ and Gentleman’s finals, excuse me. John McEnroe’s addition was a no-brainer for ESPN as he’s proven over the years to be one of the best analysts regardless of sport.
It’s fascinating though to see guys like Fowler and Tirico add to their more notable roles with college football and the NFL. Tennis is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to pure play by play and covering the sport, but the skill of Fowler and Tirico is truly evident in how well they can transition. From watching Wimbledon this week, you’d think they’d been broadcasting Wimbledon for 20 years.
But best of all? Everything from Wimbledon was live, as it should have been all along.