1 He did not take the chances he created
There is no question that Andy Murray played well against Roger Federer. Really well, in fact, and for the best part of two sets he was probably the better player. But this sport is one of fine margins and the difference between winning and losing can be something as simple as a double-fault, a poor line-call or a net cord. In Murray's case, he created two break points in two of Federer's service games in the second set and if had taken one of them, a two-set lead might have proved too much, even for Federer. In fairness, the backhand error was the only one he might really regret as the forehand pass landed just an inch wide. Federer snatched his chance at 6-5 to win the second set and the momentum had changed.
2 The change in conditions did not help
As Murray pointed out in his post-match press conference, you have to go back to 2010 to find the last time Federer lost a match indoors. When the roof was closed at 1-1 in the third set, though it could have halted Federer's momentum, the benign conditions under the roof were right up his street. His serve was suddenly restored to its usual levels and he felt more able to attack Murray when he had the chance. Federer's racket-head speed is so high that he frames a lot of balls anyway; when there is a bit of wind around, or shadows on the court, the ludicrous half-volleys he hits from the baseline can go haywire. Murray is also a good indoor player but, under the roof, Federer was able to be more aggressive without fear of a gust of wind or something to upset his rhythm.
3 Dropping his first serve percentage
Murray had plenty of success on the Federer second serve, too, so this is not just about what he did not do so well. In the first two sets, Murray served well – he hit 16 aces in all – but in the third set, his percentage dipped just slightly and that was enough to let Federer in. With his confidence rising, the Swiss began to attack the Murray second serve, swapping the largely ineffective chip returns with hard, driven returns, immediately forcing Murray on to the backfoot. Not only that, but knowing that if he missed his first serve he could be in trouble, Murray took some of the pace off his first serve and then Federer could attack that, too.
4 Federer was back to his incredible best
Sometimes you just have to say, "too good". The last two sets of the match were vintage Federer as the Swiss ripped through his repertoire to win yet another – an amazing 17th – grand slam title. Federer is the best attacking player the world has ever seen and if he gets a chance, he is going to take it. For two sets, Murray more than matched him but Federer found a way to work himself into the match in the second and it must have irked Murray to be one set all when he was arguably the better player in each set. Federer's experience in big matches was key and he never allowed himself to stop believing that he would be able to turn it around. Murray's time mayyet come but Federer was too good on the day.
5 He did not want to upstage his coach
OK, so this one is a bit frivolous but Murray's performance on Sunday was his best in any of the four grand slam finals he has now played, so to criticise too much might be churlish. Perhaps he realised that if he had won, he would have outdone his coach, Ivan Lendl, who lost his first four grand slam finals before breaking through at the 1984 French Open and then going on to win eight grand slam titles in the end. Murray must have a good chance to get his first slam sooner rather than later but as Lendl sat at Centre Court with his chin on his hand, maybe Murray knew that upstaging him was not the best idea in the world.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Carine06