4 Things From Wimbledon: The Federer factor prevents a Friday flop
Tom Bennett reports from Centre Court on a day at Wimbledon that threatened to fizzle out before being revived by Roger Federer.
Roger rescues flat Friday
Whisper it quietly, but there was a sense of trepidation in the back corridors of Wimbledon on Friday morning. Would men's semi-final day live up to its billing with so many big names out? Would the British crowds lack buzz after Andy Murray and Jo Konta’s exits? Would the grey skies dampen enthusiasm on Henman Hill?
They were right to worry.
The early afternoon around Wimbledon was strangely subdued, with patches of grass still visible on a depleted Murray Mound and even the free-flowing Pimm's struggling to raise the hubbub above a murmur.
Thank goodness for Roger.
Were it not for the Federer factor then Friday would have been a damp squib. But such is the draw of the sport’s star attraction that the atmosphere around the whole venue noticeably changed as the day progressed.
And no, the Pimm's can't take total credit for that either.
Jamie Murray deserves your love
Jamie Murray should be a legend of British tennis. He would be a legend in any other era.
The 31-year-old is on course for the fourth Grand Slam doubles title of his career, and he played a big part in Britain's Davis Cup success. He's the real deal.
But asking the general public at Wimbledon when his game was on promoted an almost unanimous response:
" Oh, I didn't know he was playing."
Martina Hingis of Switzerland smashes with Jamie Murray of Great Britain during the Mixed Doubles quarter final match against Ken Skupski of Great Britain and Jocelyn Rae of Great Britain on day ten of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All EnGetty Images
The ease with which Murray and his playing partner Martina Hingis cruised through their semi on Centre Court was arguably the performance of the day.
Tune in for the final and give Jamie the love he deserves.
The men's game is there for the taking
This tournament has felt like the end of an era for men's tennis. Age waits for no man, and the powers of the big five are on the wane.
That's not to say that the dominant quintet (Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray) won't remain the men to beat when future Grand Slams come around. But there's now a genuine chance for the status quo to be broken.
Who will step in to fill the vacuum at the top when Federer's legs finally fade?
It could be Andy Murray again if he sorts his body out. It could be Novak Djokovic again if he sorts his head out. Or could it be one of the new generation - a Alexander Zverev or even a Nick Kyrgios?
Either way, the next few years are going to be a fascinating time for the men's game.
Andy is liked, Roger is loved
At times it's hard to remember that Roger Federer is a mere mortal.
Federer's Australian Open triumph only heightened his god-like status amongst tennis fans, and the adoration heaped on him at Wimbledon has been so saccharine it makes the strawberries and cream seem sharp in comparison.
It must be a demoralising task facing Federer at Wimbledon (or any Grand Slam come to that). The opponent of tennis’ deity can expect lukewarm applause at best, while Federer can do no wrong in the eyes of his adoring public.
If he wasn't such a wonderfully gifted player then it would be grating, but he continues to win over all with his exuberance - on and off the court.
-- by Tom Bennett at Wimbledon