Wimbledon: Opportunity knocks once again for motivated Murray

Andy Murray knows he has a great opportunity to win a second Wimbledon title when he faces Milos Raonic in the final.

Tomas Berdych in action against Andy Murray Picture: John Walton/PA.

The world No 2 cruised into the final with a 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych.

It will be Murray’s third Wimbledon final and 11th at a grand slam, but the first time he has not had to beat either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer.

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The tournament appeared to be set for a repeat of the 2012 final between Murray and Federer, only for Raonic to stun the seven-time Wimbledon winner over five sets.

Andy Murray celebrates victory over Tomas Berdych. Picture: Steve Paston/PA.

Murray already knew that, should he reach the final, he would be the highest seed for the first time – as well as the clear favourite.

The 29-year-old said: “It’s obviously an opportunity. I put myself in a position to try and win the event again.

“It’s against someone new that I’m playing against in the final.

“But Milos is a very tough opponent.

Andy Murray celebrates against Tomas Berdych. Picture: John Walton/PA.

“He’s played very well on the grass this year and has earned his right to the final by beating one of the best, if not the best player, ever at this event. So he deserves to be there.

“Obviously it’s the first time I’ll play a slam final against someone that isn’t Roger or Novak. So that’s different.

“But you never know how anyone’s going to deal with the pressures of a slam final.

“So I just have to go out there and concentrate on my side, do what I can to prepare well for it and see what happens.”

Andy Murray celebrates victory over Tomas Berdych. Picture: Steve Paston/PA.

No British player has ever reached 11 grand slam finals before, with Murray surpassing the record he jointly held with Fred Perry.

He will now look to stage a repeat of the 2013 final when, a year after tearfully losing to Federer, Murray defeated Djokovic to end Perry’s 77-year reign as the last home men’s singles champion.

Murray said: “It would mean a lot, obviously. These tournaments are why I’m still playing and why I’m training hard and trying to win these events. That’s what really motivates me.

“They’re very hard competitions to win. I’ve been in the latter stages a number of times, won some, obviously lost some tough ones, as well.

Andy Murray celebrates against Tomas Berdych. Picture: John Walton/PA.

“Wimbledon, for a lot of the players, but for British players growing up, this is the biggest competition. To get to play in front of a home crowd in a grand slam final is very, very rare. There’s not many players that get the opportunity to do that.

“This one always feels a little bit more special.”

Nearly all Murray’s previous grand slam semi-finals have been tight, tense affairs, including the two he played against Berdych at the US Open in 2012 and the Australian Open earlier this year.

But this could not have been more different. Murray had won his four most recent meetings with the Czech, having previously struggled against him, and never looked in any danger.

Berdych made countless errors on his forehand and could not capitalise on the one slight opening that came his way in the sixth game of the second set.

Murray saved two break points, broke the Berdych serve in the next game and never looked back.

He wrapped things up after only an hour and 58 minutes to post his 51st win at the All England Club, one more than five-time champion Bjorn Borg, who was watching from the Royal Box.

He said: “I’m pumped obviously. I feel pretty calm just now, maybe because of the way the match went. It wasn’t too stressful a match.

“I thought I played pretty good. I didn’t give up too many errors. Made it very difficult for Tomas. It was good.”

For the second time in three days Murray walked out onto a near empty Centre Court following a Federer epic but, unlike his quarter-final against Marin Cilic, the Swiss could not find a way through this time.

“Obviously Roger’s won here seven times, and been in the final I think a couple more times, so any time he loses, it’s somewhat of a surprise,” said Murray.

“But Milos has been playing really good tennis this year, and also on the grass. Roger’s also coming off the back of a period where he hadn’t played too much, had a long five-setter the other day. So it’s not too much of a surprise.”

Much will be made of the battle being engaged off the court as well as the one on it, with Murray back working with Ivan Lendl, the coach who guided him to his two slam titles, and Raonic now being helped by John McEnroe.

Lendl agreed to join Murray’s team once more last month and the Scot hailed the impact of the eight-time slam winner.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence,” he said. “I obviously had the best years of my career with him.

“But there are other people that go into it, as well. The rest of the team that’s working with me has helped get me into this position.”

Berdych backed Murray to lift the trophy tomorrow, saying: “Definitely, he can. The fact that probably his biggest rival, Novak, is not in the draw any more definitely helps him.

“I think he has all the tools to make it all the way.”