Roger Federer Stunned by Youngster Andy Murray

Dan VerhaegheCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2008

People have come to believe that when it comes to the first-round in any tennis tournament on the ATP tour, Roger Federer will advance to the next round.

I'm sure when Andy Murray stepped on the court today, he probably felt the odds were against him.

The legion of Swiss fans that follow Federer don't even show up to the opening rounds anymore because they figure the tennis legend will surely be deep into the tournament and they can catch him there.

Not this time.

It had been three and a half years since Roger Federer had lost an opening round match. He was, however, coming off the heels of an early exit at the Australian Open. 

Murray dropped the first set in heartbreaking fashion, 7-6, as Federer figured out the young Brit. Oh, so close, said Murray.

But Murray wasn't ready to give up.

The ball bounced off his racket, eluding Federer in the next two sets. Federer would simply be outplayed. Murray would win the second set by a score of 6-3.Suddenly, the focus had turned to Andy Murray. Could he hold off the ever so daunting Federer?

Murray didn't change his gameplan. He stuck to it. Hitting those yellow tennis balls ever so crisply. And on a really hot day in Dubai, he out-dueled Federer, winning the decisive third set 6-4.

For a man like Andy Murray, it was the greatest feeling of his life. He offered his advice to the legion of tennis players on the ATP tour, that you simply just have to believe you can beat the great one.

Roger Federer's dominance in tennis is so paralleled to Tiger Woods' dominance in golf, and anytime a young upstart man beats the best in the world, that's reason to cheer.

Andy Murray isn't going away.

Even if he loses in the second round at Dubai, he'll forever remember the time he knocked off the great one, the time that Federer's hair was just too long for him to control. At full length, it's like a tunic over his eyes.

For Federer, it might be the beginning of a slump. He has lost two straight, something one might have thought to be impossible just a couple of months ago, when he was on top of his game.

Some believed only Nadal could beat Federer, and that on clay.

Pete Sampras, Steffi Graff, and Andre Agassi all had their moments of glory too. But in sports, you can never have the moment of glory always, because age destroys you. Is Federer now going to become the Andre Agassi of tennis? Inspiring performances ever so seldom?

And maybe Andy Murray becomes his fiercest competitor.

I'm Dan Verhaeghe, and sometimes we like to give the underdog full credit, because today is a day that will go down in the history books. Not many have beaten Federer, and when you do, it deserves a plaque or symbol of achievement.

So best of luck to Andy Murray in this great tournament in the qualms of Dubai. The ATP is just warming up, and Federer will have his redemption, I'm sure, but not before the sports journalists keep writing about Federer's decline.

So hey, let's see if Murray can create one of the greatest rivalries tennis has ever seen.