Wow, what a day it turned out to be at Wimbledon on Friday.
Roger Federer guaranteed himself his first ever Olympic medal in singles and his country’s first medal in these games by beating a tenacious Juan Martin Del Potro 3-6, 7-5 (5), 19-17 in the longest three set match of the Open Era.
Roger Federer: I was tense. I was nervous. Obviously I was seeing myself as the loser many times during the match, but at the same time also I did see myself with medals. So you go through many emotions. You just hope somehow you come out on the other side as a winner and secure yourself a medal, which is now the case. I couldn’t be more happy and more pleased. It’s a big moment in my life and a big moment for Switzerland because we don’t have a medal yet. I hope that also inspires other Swiss athletes for the Olympics now.
Roger Federer: “I felt very bad for him at net. It was an emotional hug we sort of gave each other. It’s not over for him yet. I hope he can make the turnaround and play a good bronze medal match.”
Andy Murray took out Novak Djokovic in straight sets in front of a rapturous crowd.
Andy Murray: It was, yeah, one of the biggest matches of my career, one of the biggest wins of my career. It was one of the most emotional I’ve been after a match, so happy to win. You don’t see me smiling that much normally. I haven’t stopped smiling since I came off the court.
Novak plays Del Potro on Sunday for the second bronze medal of his career.
Novak Djokovic: I will try to wake up tomorrow, compose myself, try to gather all the positive energy, as much as I can. Motivation is always there, obviously. Try to repeat the success that I had four years ago.
Serena Williams is guaranteed to win her first singles medal on Saturday after beating Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals: 6-1. 6-2.
She and her sister will also play their semifinal doubles match vs. Kirilenko/Petrova.
Serena Williams: I like a lot of gravy on my chicken! (via New York Times, explaining her feelings on whether an Olympic gold on her own would be gravy at this stage of her career)
Maria Sharapova also enjoyed a strong win in the semis, taking out teammate Maria Kirilenko 6-2, 6-3.
Maria Sharapova: I grew up where it was all about watching the Olympics, the opening ceremony, just being so happy. It really just brought the nation together. As athletes, that was just one of our goals, is make it there, compete there, not just be there, but try to win a medal, try to win the gold. It’s just that passion we have playing for our country.
Talk about gravy, three of the four singles finalists (Federer, Serena and Sharapova) are playing for the career Golden Slam. The Bryan Brothers are playing for the same distinction in doubles, taking on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Michael Llodra in Saturday’s gold medal match.
Quotes via ITF