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Page last updated at 21:17 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 22:17 UK

Fans proud of Murray effort

WIMBLEDON
Date: 22 June - 5 July
Coverage: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC HD, Red Button, website streaming (UK only) and text commentary, 5 Live, 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC iPlayer
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Henman Hill as Andy Murray loses to Andy Roddick
Fans on Henman Hill watching the Murray-Roddick match

By David Ornstein
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

The haste with which Henman Hill emptied following Andy Murray's defeat in the Wimbledon semi-finals suggested a feeling of unbearable disappointment and utter deflation among the British number one's supporters.

Murray was aiming to become the first British man in 71 years to reach the Wimbledon final but an inspired performance by Andy Roddick saw his bid go up in smoke.

Thousands headed for the All England Clubs exits within seconds of the match finishing at 1844 BST while pockets of spectators - both American and British - stayed to toast Roddick's victory.

But neither reaction was intended as a slight in the direction of Murray.

The 22-year-old's performance and effort was wholeheartedly applauded and many left SW19 more convinced than ever that they had witnessed a future Grand Slam champion in the making.

"It's hard to be upset by the result when both players produced such beautiful tennis," Mike Thorpe from Gloucestershire told BBC Sport.

606: DEBATE
Tom

"I would have liked Murray to win but you have to say that Roddick deserved it in the end. Murray played brilliantly - he couldn't have put any more effort into the match and he hasn't let anyone down.

"But he came up against an opponent who played marginally better than him on the day. There wasn't a cigarette paper between them."

Many had tipped Murray to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry in 1936 - and for the foreseeable future he remains the nation's premier hope to do so - but he will have to wait at least another year for another chance on home soil.

But there seems little doubt that Murray's opportunities will continue to arrive or that he is well on course for greatness within his profession.

"I'm gutted that he didn't win but we've all seen evidence this fortnight that Andy has everything it takes to win Wimbledon eventually," said Paul McLair from Glasgow.

"I guess I'm a little bit shocked because Murray has a great record against Roddick and on a good day he would have hammered him, so I was convinced he would win.

"But at 22 you're only going to get better. He will win Grand Slam titles and Wimbledon will definitely be one of them."

Murray came into the match with a 6-2 head-to-head advantage over Roddick and, having won their only previous meeting on grass, the Scot was expected to triumph on Centre Court.

But one break of serve saw a nervy-looking Murray concede the first set and, although he hit back in the second, three break points went begging in game one of the third set, which Roddick went on to take on a tie-break.

The 26-year-old American continued to serve and volley impeccably in the fourth set and reached his third Wimbledon final with a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-5) win.

"The atmosphere on the 'hill' before the match was one of confidence - most people expected nothing other than a Murray win," said Lydia Arman from Portsmouth. "Roddick has had a good tournament but no-one expected him to play that well."

Jon Crisp from Merton Park added: "Murray just didn't take his chances when they came and Roddick showed all his experience to come through. His serving was incredible and he showed great maturity in the tie-breaks.

"Murray had three break points in the first game of the third set but didn't take any and if you can't take them at this level then the top players make you pay."

Having watched on last week as British tennis equalled its worst collective Wimbledon performance - nine out of 11 singles players lost in round one of the main singles draws - the home fans departed with a sense of pride at Murray's run to the last four.

But opinions about about the world number three remain mixed and, for some, he is yet to overtake former British number one Tim Henman in the popularity stakes.

"Murray is a greatly improved tennis player and a greatly improved athlete," said David Owens from West Sussex. "But as far as his personality is concerned the jury is still out.

"It is difficult to warm to him. I may be wrong, he may be the nicest guy in the world, but he doesn't come over that way.

"With Tim there was always a vulnerability, it was a bonus if he reached the second week and the crowd always felt part of his matches - like we could really spur him on.

"Andy is already a better player than Tim was and doesn't seem to need or want the crowd. Until that changes - and it may never - he will never earn the cult hero status that Tim had."

One player who certainly has that status at the All England Club is Roger Federer, Roddick's opponent in Sunday's final.

The Swiss is bidding for his sixth Wimbledon triumph and a record 15th Grand Slam title, and there is little doubt who many of the fans will be supporting.

"I thought Federer would have beaten Murray in the final and I think he'll get past Roddick quite comfortably," said Pam Payne from Kent.

"I am sad for Murray but to be perfectly honest I'm a Federer fan and I'm desperate for him to make history here at Wimbledon - that would so special."



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see also
Murray suffers semi-final misery
03 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Murray sets sights on US Open win
03 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon day 11 as it happened
03 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Federer eases into seventh final
03 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Flying the flag for British tennis
02 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Murray through to Wimbledon semis
01 Jul 09 |  Tennis
Wimbledon: Live map
22 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles results
26 Jun 07 |  Results
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis


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