I must play perfect final to beat Federer and end Britain's title drought, admits Murray
22:25 GMT, 6 July 2012
Andy Murray made history by becoming Britain's first Wimbledon men's finalist for 74 years but his message was clear after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: the job's not done.
Another nerve – shredding afternoon ended with Murray setting up a Sunday showdown with six-time champion Roger Federer in his bid to be Britain's first men's singles champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
'It's not the end of the tournament yet,' he said after a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory clinched with a shot that was in by just 14 millimetres. 'I spoke to Ivan (Lendl, his coach) after the match and it was, “Good job, you did really well. What time do you want to practise tomorrow” That's it, there is no time for anything else.
Sky's the limit: Andy Murray celebrates after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the Wimbledon final
'I'll just enjoy this evening, go back home and have a nice meal with my girlfriend and play with our two dogs. I won't be celebrating, the time for that stuff comes when I am done.'
Murray, the first Brit in the final since Bunny Austin in 1938, gulped back tears after he had held off a dramatic charge from the Frenchman. Now he must banish the memories of two losing Grand Slam finals against Federer, at the US and Australian Opens, when he failed to win a set.
'I've learnt from those matches and, in tennis, every day is different. Roger is one of the greatest players ever and he's very, very tough to beat here. It's a great challenge, one where I'm not expected to win the match and there will probably be less pressure on me because of who he is.
'I need to try to make sure I play the perfect match on Sunday, and I know that if I play well I'm capable of winning. There's a lot of stress at this time of year. At the end of today's match it was obviously very emotional, it meant a lot to me.'
Tearful: Murray looked overcome with emotion after sealing his victory over Tsonga
Tim Henman led the praise for Murray. The former British No 1, who lost four Wimbledon semi-finals himself, saluted Murray's effort.
'It was unbelievable,' Henman said on BBC2. 'I just hope he's got enough physical and emotional energy left. It was a draining match.
'Andy will like the match-up with Roger and what an opportunity. He's got one monkey off his back with the nation's first finalist in 74 years, so why not kill two birds with one stone.
'If he can get to Federer's backhand, of course he has a chance, but Federer knows this court better than anyone.
'He has lost to Roger in a grand slam final before, but I just feel that it's a great win today, he's been so resilient and he stayed tough. He has to do that on one more occasion.'
Big draw: Fans crowded onto Henman Hill to watch Murray beat Tsonga in four tense sets
A congratulatory message also came from Prime Minister David Cameron.
In a statement, he said: 'It is great news that we have our first home-grown men's finalist at Wimbledon for over 70 years, especially in this exciting Olympics year when the eyes of the world are on the UK.
'I'll be watching the final on Sunday and like the rest of the country, will be getting right behind Andy Murray – I wish him the best of luck.'
Downing Street also confirmed that the Scottish Saltire will fly alongside the Union flag above No 10 on Sunday.
Former Wimbledon winner John McEnroe, covering the match as a broadcaster, added: 'I am really happy for Andy. When I played, I was never under the pressure he was under. It was an amazing effort from him.
Home hero: Murray fans react as they watch his semi-final on television at the Dunblane Hotel
'You would think the pressure will be
on him in the final because of how long it has been since Great Britain
had someone win it, but Federer wants to tie with Pete Sampras (on
seven titles) and has put pressure on himself.
'Andy will have to play so well to beat him.'
Murray's former Davis Cup captain John Lloyd believes it is written in the stars that Murray will lift his maiden grand slam title on Sunday.
'I always thought that grass would be a good surface for him. It's destiny for him to win it the way that he's played,' he said. 'It was amazing.'
Praise came from Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, who said that Murray had lifted the spirits of the country.
'Congratulations to Andy on reaching the final, which is a fantastic achievement. He has played brilliantly right through the tournament and given the whole country a lift with his performances,' he said.
Brit of alright: Fans go wild as Murray seals his progress into the Wimbledon final for the first time
'The whole of Scotland will be right behind Andy on Sunday, and I'll be there in person to help cheer him on.'
Murray's former coach Miles Maclagan lauded the Scot's nerve, telling BBC Radio Five Live: 'All the hard physical work was the easy part for Andy today. It's the steel backbone that he showed in the tough moments which have left me in awe.'
Maclagan now coaches Marcos Baghdatis, who was Murray's third-round victim.
There was no doubting who he was siding with today though as he roared Murray on.
'I feel emotionally drained,' Maclagan added. 'You could see his relief at the end. It was a big moment for him and he has deserved it.'
Team Andy: Hitting partner Dani Vallverdu (centre), coach Ivan Lendl (right) and mum, Judy, watch on
That's my boy: Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears was on Centre Court supporting her man
Pat Cash, Wimbledon champion in 1987, hopes the whole of Britain will get behind the 25-year-old when he takes on Federer.
'The country will hopefully be right behind him and cheer him along,' the Australian said. 'He has played Davis Cup before for his country, but this is an individual event. This is for him and I hope the country enjoys it and gets behind him.'
Richard Krajicek, who won at Wimbledon in 1996, admits the manner of Murray's win over Tsonga was exhilarating.
'Unbelievable,' the Dutchman said. 'I've got goosebumps. It's amazing.
'It's so nice to see such a great guy do well.
Turned out nice again: Murray beat Tsonga under blue skies at the All England Club
'He gets so much criticism and he has now overcome it.
'There was so much negativity about him and this performance was the only way he could overcome that.'
Goran Ivanisevic beat Henman in the last four on his way to winning Wimbledon as a wild-card entry in 2001.
The 40-year-old told BBC Radio Five Live that Murray must seize his chance.
'It's great for Andy,' Ivanisevic said. 'It's great for British tennis, for Scottish tennis. It's been such a long time, but if he doesn't win the press will hammer him.
'He needs to win somehow. I wish him all the best because he deserves to win a grand slam.'
Never say die: Frenchman Tsonga battled back to take the third set from Murray
Ivanisevic lost three Wimbledon finals before winning the tournament and he does not want Murray to experience the beaten feeling on Sunday.
'You don't want to lose in the final, believe me. I know what that feels like,' Ivanisevic added. 'But maybe this will be his year. He needs to do whatever he can to win the trophy.'
Golf's world No 1 Luke Donald watched on admiringly from the Royal Box and hopes the Scot can be part of a momentous month for British sport.
'Seeing great players in any sport is inspiring,' Donald said. 'Federer was pretty impressive against Djokovic, but I think everybody is behind Andy.'
Donald, who flew in from America earlier this week, defends the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart next week and then heads to Royal Lytham in Lancashire for the Open Championship.