Murray, 25, was brilliant in all facets of the game — serve, service return, defense and offense — and resolute from the first ball to the last.
And Federer, 30, who was seeking the one title that would have completed a Golden Slam by adding Olympic singles gold to the cache of majors he already owns, was reduced to a misfiring imposter.
“I’ve had a lot of tough losses in my career, but this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final,” said Murray, who buried his face in his hands as the tears formed, then made his way to his courtside box to embrace of his longtime girlfriend, family, trainers, coach and supporters.
“I’ll never forget it.”
And the ecstatic Center Court crowd of 14,000, as well as the thousands who perched on the rain-soaked hillside beyond just to watch on a wide-screen TV, erupted in deafening cheers, applause, whistles.
“Ahn-DEE!” “Ahn-DEE!” they shouted, along with “Team GB!” “Team GB!”
A fiercely proud Scot, Murray was all of Britain’s pride Sunday. He was the son who made a nation pop at its seams. And their joy extended far beyond the gold medal that was draped around Murray’s neck. In routing the peerless Federer, the reigning world No. 1 and grass-court master, who just last month won his seventh Wimbledon title, Murray rekindled glorious memories among Britain’s long-suffering tennis fans.
But it was all of them — the nation’s spirited sports fans, Olympic ticket-holders and TV viewers — that Murray insisted should take a bow for giving Britain’s Olympians an extra measure of energy.
Earlier Sunday, Venus and Serena Williams added to America’s gold-medal tally while making personal history, becoming the first to win four Olympic tennis gold medals with their 6-4, 6-4 victory over Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in the women’s doubles final.
It was a powerful and well-crafted performance by the sisters, who each now have three Olympic doubles golds and one singles gold. Venus won her singles title at the 2000 Sydney Games; Serena followed suit Saturday, thrashing Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to join Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal as the only players to complete a career Golden Slam.
“We’ve been winning this title since 2000, but it’s easier said than done,” said Venus, who has competed infrequently since being diagnosed last year with an auto-immune disorder that causes joint pain and fatigue. “We come in as favorites, but it’s not a given.”