Having advanced to the 2012 Wimbledon Final, Great Britain's Andy Murray is one win away from attaining his first Grand Slam title. If Murray wins, he will be the first British player to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry did back in 1936.
Unfortunately for Murray, his opponent this Sunday is Roger Federer. Federer is vying for his seventh Wimbledon title and 17th Grand Slam overall.
On paper, the matchup is closer than it appears. Murray has an 8-7 career record against the 30-year-old Swiss legend.
Murray—primarily a defensive baseline player—relies on his speed and athleticism to wear his opponents down after long, grueling volleys. This, in part, explains the 25-year-old's success against Federer.
However, Murray's winning record against Federer has been comprised exclusively on hard courts. Wimbledon, a grass court, has higher bounces and slower conditions.
These conditions give Federer more time to maneuver and to exercise his superior all-around game. On a grass court, he should be able to offset Murray's strengths.
Federer has been in top form at this year's Wimbledon. On Friday morning, he surprisingly routed the current No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic, in the semifinal 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The ease with which Federer defeated Djokovic was surprising, in part because Federer has been struggling with back issues all week. However, after the match, Federer stated that his back was fine and is not limiting his game.
Federer's recent impressive win should buoy his level of confidence back to when he was in his prime. Federer's last Grand Slam victory was in January 2010 at the Australian Open.
Since then, Federer has advanced deep into numerous Grand Slams. However, he was constantly defeated by either Rafael Nadal or Djokovic.
As a result, it was questioned whether Federer's mental game had been permanently rattled after two years of difficult losses against younger, more athletic competition.
Murray technically has "home-court" advantage playing in front of a British crowd, and the fan base at Centre Court will undoubtedly be partial to Murray. However, they will also be reverential to Federer in what should be another successful Grand Slam bid in the twilight of his illustrious career.