Murray left to applaud Federer masterclass

 Andy Murray discovered he can still "cry like Roger" Federer but "can't play like him" as his dreams of ending "150,000 years" of hurt died on a floodlit arena at Wimbledon on Sunday. 

Two years after blubbing his way through a runners-up speech at the Australian Open, tears of despair were flowing again on Centre Court after Murray's brave effort to end Britain's 76-year search for a men's grand slam champion unravelled under the spell of Federer's magic. 

As the beaming Swiss hoisted the gilded Challenge Cup for a record-equalling seventh time Murray looked skywards wondering what might have been.
Federer's 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 win left Murray sobbing, 15,000 Centre Court ticket holders deflated and 60 million Britons wondering if, and when, this agonising search for a men's champion at one of the four majors will ever end.

Since Fred Perry won the last of his eight grand slams at the 1936 US Championships, 286 majors have come and gone without a British men's champion in sight.

Winners have emerged from Egypt to Ecuador, from Romania to Mexico, from Croatia to South Africa, from Hungary to Argentina. Twenty two different nations have lorded over all and sundry.

But the country that hosts the most famous tennis tournament in the world has effectively become a laughing stock for failing to produce a male champion for more than three quarters of a century.
"What is it? Like, 150,000 years?," Federer had jovially quipped on the eve of beating Murray at the 2010 Melbourne Park final.

"I'm going to try this - it isn't going to be easy," Murray told the crowd as he tried to hold back tears to get through his runners-up speech. 

"I was told the other day that 'this is your best chance because Roger is 30 now.' He's not bad for a 30-year-old. He had some struggles early on (this tournament) with his back and today he showed us what fight he has got left in him,’’ Murray added.

"I'm going to start crying again... Everybody always talks about the pressure of playing at Wimbledon, how tough it is, ... the people watching make it so much easier to play - they make it incredible," Murray added as he was given a rapturous round of applause.

While there is no shame in losing a Wimbledon final to a player hailed by many as the greatest of all time, for Murray the task of finally ending his grand slam jinx after four final defeats will no doubt get harder and harder, especially since he has won only one of the 13 final sets he has contested.
He also matched the miserable record of his coach Ivan Lendl, the only other man in the professional era who lost his first four grand slam finals.

While Murray will take heart that Lendl went on to win eight grand slam titles, but at the age of 25 and playing in an era hailed as the greatest, time is fast running out.

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