FINAL SHOWDOWN: Murray eyes gold and revenge in Federer rematch
Just 28 days after walking off Centre Court as a tearful Wimbledon runner-up, Andy Murray will get the chance for revenge when he faces Roger Federer in the Olympic final today.
Murray's emotional reaction to defeat against Federer in the Wimbledon final could have shattered the World No 4's spirit, but he has shown remarkable maturity to rebound with a superb run on his return to the All England Club for the Games.
The British star has played with such composure and class over the last week that his 7-5, 7-5 victory over World No 2 Novak Djokovic may be just the prelude to the greatest triumph of his career.
"I want to try and win, but it's not just about revenge," he said. "If you asked me before the tournament, I would have said a Wimbledon title or a slam title is the most important thing to do in your career.
"But within sport, a gold medal is the pinnacle. Everyone understands what a gold medal is. After what I experienced tonight, it would be right up there with anything else that I could achieve in tennis."
Murray and Federer have eight wins each in their 16 meetings, but the 17-time Grand Slam champion has won every one of their major encounters.
Federer's wins over Murray in the finals of the 2008 US Open and 2010 Australian Open, as well as Wimbledon, make the 30-year-old the favourite on Sunday.
"He's not played for the gold medal in singles before, whereas most times when I played him he's experienced the situations way more times than me," Murray said.
"It's so rare for him to be in a position, where he's trying to do something new because he's achieved so much in tennis. I hope that will even things out a little bit.
"But I know it's going to be a tough match. Obviously I'll need to play great tennis to win."
After three failed attempts to reach the Olympic singles final, beating Juan Martin del Potro 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 19-17 in the semis was a major moment for Federer, who lost to Tommy Haas at the same stage of the 2000 Games in Sydney.
Although the Swiss great has enjoyed so much success in his glittering career, finally securing at least a silver singles medal for both himself and his country felt as good as any of his Grand Slam titles.
"Now finally I have an Olympic singles medal," he said after defeating del Potro in four hours and 26 minutes -- the longest three-set singles match in the Open Era.
"It's been a long time coming. I lost the semis against Tommy Haas 12 years ago and lost the bronze medal match as well. That was a rough turnaround for me.
"I'm happy I took it a step further and have secured a medal now. Plus I have the opportunity for gold.
"For me, it was somewhat equal to a Grand Slam final. The emotions I felt were as strong as winning a Grand Slam almost. I was very, very touched at the end.
"Being aware, as well, that it's the first medal for Switzerland during this Olympics, it was a big thing that carried me through."
Of course Federer won't be satisfied just to take silver. He arrived in south-west London five weeks ago with the double target of Wimbledon and Olympic gold and he is just one win away from fulfilling his dream.
"I love to play Andy. It should be a great match," he said. "I have experience and I have the records here at Wimbledon that hopefully are going to have an effect and carry me through." AFP