ROGER Federer won his seventh Wimbledon title today but weeping Andy Murray won the hearts of the nation as he thanked millions of Brits on TV for their support, writes Graham Walker.
Murray was hoping to become the first British man in more than 70 years to win the men’s singles tournament.
The Scot - the first Briton to make it to the final in 74 years - would have been the the first male champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
But he was beaten in an electric final by Swiss veteran and tennis legend Federer, who won the match 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 to equal Pete Sampras’s record with his seventh Wimbledon title.
The crowd rose as Federer took match point, applauding for both players, who hugged, Murray appearing to congratulate his rival.
Murray broke down as he paid tribute to his team, as well as the crowd, in an emotional interview on Centre Court. His girlfriend Kim Sears and mother Judy Murray were also reduced to tears by his unusually emotional words.
“I’m getting closer,’’ he joked, before he filled up and had to take a few seconds to compose himself, before making a speech which showed how much winning would have meant to him.
“I’m going to try this and it’s not going to be easy,” the 25-year-old said, to deafening applause.
“First I would like to congratulate Roger, I was getting asked the other day after I won my semi-final, is this your best chance, Roger is 30 now? He isn’t bad for a 30-year-old. He played a great tournament, he had some struggles early on with his back and showed what a fight he still has in him, so congratulations, you deserve it.”
Speaking about “Team Murray”, he said: “I’m going to try and not look at them because I’ll probably start crying again but everyone who is in that corner over there, who has supported me...we did a great job, so thank you.
“And last of all to you guys,” he said to the crowd. “Everybody always talks about the pressure of playing at Wimbledon, how difficult it is. It’s not the people watching, they make it so much easier to play.”
“The support has been incredible,” he added, breaking down, as his mother Judy was also seen dissolving into tears.
Murray had started well, taking the first set to rapturous applause.
But despite deafening support from a partisan crowd, he lost the second set, then the third - which was interrupted by rain for the roof to be put on Centre Court, and went on to lose a fourth set.
As it looked like he would lose the match, cries of “come on Andy”, “you can do it Andy” rang out around the historic court.
After winning his service game to take the set to 5-4, during the break the court rang out with chants and applause as a large part of the 15,000-strong crowd willed the Scot to battle back.
Even the Duchess of Cambridge joined in from the Royal Box, watched by her sister Pippa Middleton.
But the support was to no avail as Murray lost the final.
Federer, whose wife Mirka was watching with their twins Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, congratulated his rival, joking: “He will at least win one grand slam.”
Of his seven Wimbledon title record, equalling Pete Sampras, he said: “He is my hero and it feels amazing.”
* Federer’s win has won more than £100,000 for charity.
A gambler who died three years ago wagered the Swiss maestro would win seven or more Wimbledon titles, and the star has now achieved that feat.
Nick Newlife, from Oxford, placed £1,520 on odds of 66/1 with Bookmakers William Hill.
He died in 2009, aged 59, leaving his entire estate - including the bet - to Oxfam, who can now collect £101,840.
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: “Mr Newlife told me he had identified Roger Federer as a future serial winner at Wimbledon and wanted to place a ‘sizeable’ long term wager on him, which we were happy to allow him to do.
“This is one of the most remarkable bets we have ever accepted.”
The bookmakers has already paid out £16,750 to the charity from another bet placed by Mr Newlife which wagered £250 at 66/1 that Federer would win 14 Grand Slam events.
The charity estimates around 12% of its income is from legacies.