It’s the Wimbledon Men’s Singles Final this afternoon and it’s also the day that Andy Murray has been waiting for his whole life.
He’ll be hoping it will be as dramatic as yesterday’s ladies’ final turned out to be, with Serena Williams ruining a perfectly good bet by choking when a set and a break up. Williams was well on her way to the easiest of wins before the nerves struck and she dropped a set, costing me my unders wager on the total minutes.
I expect no such drama today, though, as Murray takes on Roger Federer. The Swiss will have a seventh Wimbledon title and 17th major title in his sights when the pair meet at 2pm.
The match should be played under the roof, as the weather forecast is for showers all day, but who knows with this Wimbledon committee, who seem intent on defying common sense most of the time.
I doubt that it will make a significant difference anyway, as Federer will surely win this match – roof or no roof.
In my view, Murray is very poor value at around 2.65, considering how bad he has been in his three Slam finals so far and I’m yet to see a shred of evidence that he has improved the mental side of his game since the much-heralded arrival of Ivan Lendl in his camp.
It must be noted that Lendl also lost his first three Slam finals and in his fourth he was thrashed by Mats Wilander. He also famously failed to win Wimbledon, so quite what advice he’ll be giving I’m not entirely sure.
The match-up itself isn’t too bad for Murray, who does have a shot of winning today if Federer drops back to the level he was at earlier in the tournament. But with such rewards on offer today I don’t see that happening.
The Swiss served fantastically well against probably the best returner in the game, Novak Djokovic, in the semi-finals and if he does that again I expect a similar result today.
We know that Murray has a good record against Federer in non-majors but we rarely see Federer play at the same level in those tournaments. They mean little to him these days and the Scot is yet to take a set from Federer in a Grand Slam.
If I were backing Murray today I’d want around 3.5 at least, which is how I’d probably price this one up. A better bet for Murray fans would be the most aces market, which is the one area where he might beat the Swiss today.
We know that Murray on his day can be a class act and talent-wise he’s not far off the best, but he’s a notch down from the very top on ability and some way down on mental strength. Added to that, he’s facing the best in the business over the last decade today. It will be an incredible achievement if Murray wins today – up there with the best moments of British sport – but I fear he’s destined to come up short.
His improved serving needs to stay at its current high level to protect a second delivery that is still a weakness, and he needs to hit less of the backhand slice and really have the faith to go for winners off both sides like we know he can.
That is far easier said than done in a major final, though, especially in front of an expectant home crowd. I believe that he’ll take a set today, but I think this is all his fans can realistically hope for.
I’ll take Federer to come through this in four sets at 3.70, but surely a near certainty is Federer to win minus 1.5 sets on the handicap at 1.77. Murray will do well to win one set, let alone two in my view, so that would be my bet of the day.
Back Federer minus 1.5 sets at 1.77
Back Federer 3-1 at 3.70