While Britain eagerly awaits their first homegrown finalist in the Gentlemen’s singles since before the second World War, those of us who do not ascribe to the ironic sense of entitlement those in the UK feel about winning Wimbledon doubt heavily that Andy Murray can go one step further and lift the trophy.
It’s simply too hard to conjure up any legitimate athletic reasons why Andy Murray should, could or will beat the 16-time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer in the final, and a quick look at the stats reveals exactly why.
Federer has won 16 Slams to Murray’s 0.
In Grand Slam finals, Federer is 16-7, whereas Murray is 0-3.
In sets in a Grand Slam final, Federer is at an impressive 57-29 whereas Murray is at an almost equally remarkable 0-9.
It is true that Murray holds a slight edge in their head-t0-head (8-7), but at the majors Federer is 2-0 against the Scot and in finals, Federer leads 4-2.
Simply put; when it matters, Federer wins.
And, any clairvoyant worth their salt would stare into their crystal ball and promptly predict that Federer will win, and win handedly.
But sports is a funny old thing. Often extraordinary external factors can have a profound influence on the outcome, and 2012 is no ordinary year in Britain.
With London hosting the Olympics later this summer, and the whole nation celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee just a few weeks prior to Wimbledon opening its gates, Great Britain is experience a sense of nationalism not seen since England won the World Cup back in 1966.
So does this make 2012 the year the stars are aligned for a Brit to win Wimbledon?
While it is true that Andy Murray is attempting to become the first British Gentlemen’s singles champion since 1936, you only have to go back as far as 1977 for the last British women’s singles champion, when Virginia Wade came through a draw that included Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King to captured the Venus Rosewater dish.
The significance of this is that 1977 was Queen Elizabeth’s silver jubilee year, thus making this diamond jubilee year slightly more relevant.
Of course, in the meantime, Queen Elizabeth has also celebrated a golden jubilee in 2002, marked by Tim Henman’s run to the semi-finals and subsequent loss to Lleyton Hewitt in three straight sets.
So while the jubilee stat looks pretty good, only going one for two isn’t exactly a perfect run.
So how about the Olympics? Is there any significance there?
Actually, maybe there is.
Since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, on 11 separate occasions the host nation has also been one of the four Grand Slam countries, as is the case this year with England and Wimbledon.
During these 11 Olympic years, the winners of the host nation’s Grand Slam Men’s and Women’s singles Championships has been from the host country on 15 of the 21 occasions. That’s a staggering 71% of the time.
|Olympics||Grand Slam||Men’s Champ||Women’s Champ|
|1900||Paris||Roland Garros||Paul Ayne (FR)||Helene Prevost (FR)|
|1904||St. Louis||US Open||Holcombe Ward (US)||May Sutton Bundy (US)|
|1908||London||Wimbledon||Arthur Gore (GB)||Charlotte Cooper (GB)|
|1924||Paris||Roland Garros||Jean Borotra (FR)||Emilienne Vlasto (FR)|
|1932||Los Angeles||US Open||Ellsworth Vines (US)||Helen Jacobs (US)|
|1948||London||Wimbledon||Bob Falkenburg (US)||Louise Brough Clapp (US)|
|1956||Melbourne||Australian Open||Lew Hoad (AU)||Mary Carter Reitand (AU)|
|1984||Los Angeles||US Open||John McEnroe (US)||Martina Navratilova (US)|
|1996||Atlanta||US Open||Pete Sampras (US)||Steffi Graf (GR)|
|2000||Sydney||Australian Open||Andre Agassi (US)||Lindsey Davenport (US)|
|2012||London||Wimbledon||Serena Williams (US)|
Interestingly, the only two years that neither the men’s nor women’s champion came from the host country was in London in 1948 and Sydney in 2000.
To make matters worse, in 2000, Australian Rennae Stubbs won both the ladies and mixed doubles, thus leaving the 1948 Wimbledon Championships the only Olympic host to leave their Grand Slam empty-handed.
Not a great omen for Mr. Murray.
Of course, this interesting stat is complete nonsense. Prior to the Open era (and in the case of the Australian Open, the 1990′s), few players from other countries even played in the majors, so homegrown champions were practically inevitable.
So what’s left?
One historical stat which could be either for or against the Brit is his three straight Gland Slam final loses.
Surely, one would rationalize, he can’t lose four in a row.
Well, history says otherwise.
There have been four other players who have played and lost their first three slam finals (Fred Stolle, Jaraslav Drobny, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi), and of those four, only one – Andre Agassi – won their fourth.
What’s more, Ivan Lendl is now Andy Murray’s coach.
All in all, it doesn’t seem 2012 has all the hallmarks of a destiny year for British tennis, and it looks as though Andy Murray is going to be all on his own on the court without the sporting Gods to throw in the occasional netcord or faulty hawkeye.
Mind you, if the Gods were working towards giving Britain a champ, they clearly didn’t double check the names correctly and allocated all their luck to Britain’s all-too-similarly-named Jonathan Marray who just won the men’s doubles.
Now Murray’s really screwed.