Here's why Andy Murray v Milos Raonic promises to be a truly unique Wimbledon final


Andy Murray v Milos Raonic: this is not the final many people would have predicted back at the start of the Wimbledon fortnight.

But that means it could be all the more worth watching. Here's everything you need to know...

Andy Murray is favourite for a change

Andy Murray with the Queen's trophy, alongside Milos Raonic
(Steve Paston/PA)

All 10 of Murray's previous grand slam finals have been against Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer. With that in mind, you can sort of forgive him for only having won two of them - the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon the following year, both against Djokovic.

It all means Murray is in the unusual position of being favourite when he takes on Raonic, especially having beaten him in the final at Queen's a few weeks ago. Raonic has never been to a grand slam final before - no male Canadian has in fact - so it's a bit of a journey into the unknown for both players. Will Raonic cope with the pressure of the big stage? How will Murray react to being the favourite?

The coaches are rivals too

John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl at an exhibition match
(Henny Ray Abrams/AP)

There'll be almost as much attention on the two coaches as on the players at SW19. That's because they're no ordinary coaches - they're Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe, who were themselves rivals as players. Lendl is back guiding Murray after a break of more than two years, while McEnroe is helping out the Candian's coaching team of Carlos Moya and Riccardo Piatti.

One thing that makes it all the more fascinating is that the pupils' rivalry is almost the opposite of their masters'. While one of Lendl's key attributes is to keep the often self-flagellating Murray on an even keel, McEnroe has been encouraging his charge to be more emotional on court.

Andy Murray is joining some of the game's greats

Andy Murray celebrates his semi-final win over Thomas Berdych
(Tim Ireland/AP)

Murray will contest his 11th final, drawing him level with three greats of the game in McEnroe, Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander. Those three won seven, six and seven grand slam singles titles respectively, while Murray so far has only two to his name.

Those numbers tell you how well Murray has done to reach so many finals, how good the quality of his opponents has been - but also that the British number one risks finishing his career with far fewer titles than his talent merits.

There will be some absent friends

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer embrace after the Wimbledon final
(Toby Melville/AP)

So dominant have Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal been here and everywhere else that this will be the first Wimbledon final since 2002 not to feature one of them. And if you want the answer to the trivia question, that 2002 final saw Lleyton Hewitt beat David Nalbandian.

Will Murray continue a run that has seen only members of the game's big four win the Wimbledon title for the last 13 years, or will Raonic put a new name on the trophy, succeeding where Mark Philippoussis, Andy Roddick and Tomas Berdych have failed?

It's one of the best servers against one of the best returners

Milos Raonic serving
(Steve Paston/PA)

It is too simplistic to label it a battle of serve against return, but that will undoubtedly be key to the outcome. Sixth seed Raonic leads the tournament on aces with 137 and has lost only five service games.

Murray, meanwhile, has won 36 per cent of return games and, when his opponent has missed his first serve, the Scot has taken the point 64 per cent of the time.

Andy Murray is on the brink of an unwanted first

Andy Murray shows his frustration
(Adam Davy/PA)

This is Murray's third consecutive grand slam final, after also making it to the last day at both the Australian and French Opens. It's the first time Murray has reached three grand slam finals in the year - and he could yet make that a clean sweep.

There's also the danger of a little bit of ignominy for Murray, though. No man in the open era has lost the first three finals in a year, and that is certainly not the sort of history Murray will want to make after defeats by Novak Djokovic in Melbourne and Paris.