What do you get when you have a fired-up and sharp Andy Murray playing a depleted Roger Federer? A 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory by the Scot to claim his first gold medal. Fed walked away with the silver, and Juan Martin del Potro, after a heartbreaking defeat to Federer in the semifinals, defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to get the bronze.
I won't go into much detail about the match because quite frankly it was not that entertaining. It was pretty one-sided and the only times Fed looked like himself were the first four games of the match and the game at 2-0 in the second set, where he had six break points. In that game he was moving well and crushing forehands from the backhand corner like only Roger can. But when Murray held to take the decisive 6-2, 3-0 lead, it was all over.
In hindsight, the result was kind of predictable. Federer was physically, emotionally, and mentally drained after that 19-17 3rd set against del Potro on Friday. He put all is energy into winning that match and did so under tremendous pressure (12 holds while serving to stay in the match), and because of that, he had little left to give in the final. And against Andy Murray, only a very good performance would have gotten the job done.
Now, if Federer was fresh would he have won? Maybe, maybe not. But it is pretty obvious that the match would have been much more competitive had Roger not been so exhausted. I almost feel bad for everyone in attendance that they didn't get to see a better match. Of course, 98% of them were just happy Murray won, but the Federer/Delpo match showed true high quality tennis and it's a shame that Roger couldn't bring out something that resembled his best.
Roger has achieved so much in 2012, and he has had so many incredible victories, so I cannot feel too disappointed with the result of the final. Fed gave everything of himself in the semifinal to ensure that he would get a medal for Switzerland, and you could tell after that win that it meant a lot to him. If I had to guess, his one regret would be that his body didn't allow him to be as good as he needed to be, but on the other hand, he gave all his fans a spectacular moment in the semifinal win, and even though he knew that would take everything out of him, he still gave it his best effort in the final.
In the grand scheme of things, the vast majority of athletes at the Olympics would love to win a silver medal in their sport. I think with Roger it is no different. Sure, he would have loved to win gold, but he also expressed feeling happy for Andy to finally win a big title for Great Britain, and content with how everything played out. He knew he he was unable to give his best in the final but he still reflected positively on the entire experience.
Roger will not be playing in Toronto, so his next tournament will be Cincinnati, where is a 4-time champion. The court suits his game there, so he will have a great chance to win (plus he only has QF points to defend so he will be able to extend his #1 lead hopefully). Then it's upwards and onwards to the US Open where I see the winner being Federer, Murray, or del Potro. Nadal and Djokovic are too out of sorts to contend seriously, if I had to make a very early prediction.
Again, no Federer fan should be upset with this result. A silver medal is still a fantastic achievement, especially with an inspire Andy Murray in Great Britain on the other side of the net. I am so very proud of Fed for coming through in that tight semi, and for making his country proud.