Andy Murray is now an Olympic singles champion, and that victory will spur him to major championship glory at the U.S. Open.
Murray's win at the Olympics is the first time in his career that he’s managed to break through at a major tournament. Incredibly, he managed to do it against perhaps the greatest player of all time, Rodger Federer. And if that wasn’t enough, he won with the hopes of his entire country on his shoulders.
But he didn't just win, he dominated.
Murray pounded Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4, completely outclassing the man with 17 major titles to his credit. He challenged Federer all match long, playing to his forehand and backhand, daring him to hit great returns. But Federer just couldn’t respond.
Murray's serve was incredible, and his court coverage was world-class, as always. Most importantly, though, Murray stayed mentally engaged the whole match. He never got down on himself, even when Federer started to push him a little in the third set.
Now, Murray knows he's capable of beating the best in the world. He's finally toppled the Swiss great on the biggest stage, and he also defeated Novak Djokovic in the semis. The confidence earned from this victory will do him wonders moving forward.
Murray's always had the game to compete with the "Big Three" of the tennis world, but he repeatedly crumbled when things didn't go his way. He shrunk away from the moments that define champions and played less aggressively when he faced the big boys.
However, he seemed to solve that problem during the Olympics, because he was very aggressive all tournament long, highlighted by his decimation of Federer in the finals.
The win will blossom a great deal of internal belief in Murray, and now, he will finally be able to go out and play with a clear head in majors.
No longer will he think his game isn't good enough to compete with guys like Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. Instead, he'll be able to go out and just rely on his skills and his innate ability to cover the court rather than sitting at the line and hitting long returns.
He'll have his first opportunity to do so at the hard courts of the U.S. Open later this month. You can expect him to show the same form he displayed at Wimbledon—the second time.
Plus, thanks to struggles from the top three players in the world, the U.S. Open will be more wide-open than any major on the men's side in years. Rafael Nadal is reeling from injury, Djokovic has looked vulnerable over the last few months and now even Federer is beatable in Murray’s mind.
In other words, the tournament sets up perfectly for Murray.
Murray’s always has the ability to play with each of these men, even when their healthy. But now, he has the gold medal to prove it to everyone, including himself.
So the "Big Three" need to be weary. Andy Murray is coming. and he will win the U.S. Open.