Surprising Twist Leads To Wimbledon Finals

The stage is set for an exciting men's finals at Wimbledon, where the resurgent veteran Roger Federer faces the native son Andy Murray. Murray is Britain's first finals competitor since 1938. Guest host David Greene gets updates from NPR's Philip Reeves.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The men's Wimbledon final has just ended, and Swiss star Roger Federer has now tied Pete Sampras' all-time record of seven Wimbledon victories in the modern era. It was a dramatic win for Federer, but also a dramatic loss for Britain's Andy Murray, who had a whole country watching today. He was the first British man to even reach the Wimbledon finals in 74 years. Like millions of people all over Britain, NPR's Philip Reeves tuned in. And, Phil, are you still breathless after that match?

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Oh, yes, I am. And, as you say, I think everyone, both in Britain and particularly in Scotland - remembering that Murray's a Scot - has been through a roller coaster of emotions in the last couple of hours. Because Murray didn't play badly, this was an incredible performance in the end by Federer.

GREENE: It really was. And, of course, I mean, a big day for British tennis fans who really had their hopes pinned on Murray. But this is a pretty big win, and big day for Federer.

REEVES: Yes, it is. His 17th grand slam title, whereas Murray's still waiting for his first. And, as you say, he now ties Pete Sampras and he's done that at the age of 30. He is, and has long been, seen as a contender for the claim to being the best player the game has ever seen, and he's reinforced that claim in the last couple of hours.

But I must say, you know, the scenes at Wimbledon were remarkable when Murray lost. They called his name and said, you know, the runner-up Andy Murray, and there was this enormous cheer that went around the ground. He got a bigger cheer, it has to be said - although the crowd was sporting - he got a bigger cheer than Federer did. And then followed very tearful scenes as Murray struggled to be interviewed in front of the crowd and to thank his supporters and to thank the huge crowd, both at Wimbledon and beyond, across the country. It was a very remarkable moment, really, in tennis history, I think.

GREENE: And I guess, you know, British sports fans, their known for keeping expectations low, being pessimistic sometimes. I mean, how big a letdown was this? What kind of atmosphere do you feel in the country right now?

REEVES: Well, as I say, they were very - they responded very warmly and positively to Murray, and it was great recognition, really, of the huge effort that he put in, in this incredibly tough game against this remarkable player. But in Britain, there is this feeling that its sport stars just don't quite meet the scratch. They've been waiting for so long to get into a final. Haven't been in a final since 1938. They haven't won a Wimbledon singles - I mean, there have been a men's single final, I mean. They haven't won a men's single final since Edward the VIII advocated.

And so, you know, there will be a feeling that once again they've been denied the crown that they've hankered for for so long.

GREENE: All right. Just to recap: Roger Federer has beaten Andy Murray three sets to one to win his seventh Wimbledon title. And we've been speaking to NPR's Philip Reeves. Thanks, Phil.

REEVES: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: This is NPR News.

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