It was not just an impatient Britain that thought it was Andy Murray’s time to win Wimbledon 12 months ago – his final opponent Roger Federer did too.
And now Federer believes Murray poses the greatest threat of any rival as the grass-court grand slam fortnight begins.
Murray last year became the first British man to reach the Wimbledon men’s singles final for 74 years and won the first set, but Federer went on to win in four and lift the trophy for the seventh time.
Murray did not have to wait long to gain revenge, thrashing Federer in the Olympic final four weeks later and then winning his first grand slam title at the US Open in September.
Federer said: “I thought Andy was going to win a big one anyway at some point.
“He’s too good to always keep losing semis and finals.
“He’s put himself too often in that position time and time again.
“Somehow I thought it was going to be Wimbledon before the finals last year. I thought this was going to be it for him.
“I was able to fight that off and play a good match.
“I was happy with the way I played, but I was happy with the reaction that Andy showed as well.
“Because in previous years, the one time I beat him in the Australian Open final, he went on a bit of a disappointing run after that.
“That wasn’t the case after Wimbledon last year. He actually got much stronger.
“That’s why he increased his chances now by winning big tournaments.
“He did so at the Olympics, the US Open. Now he’s the favourite every tournament he goes into around the world.”
Federer, who opens up Centre Court proceedings today at 1pm, had no hesitation in picking out Murray – a potential semi-final opponent – as the player he fears most at Wimbledon ahead of Rafael Nadal or world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
“I think Murray played great last year throughout Wimbledon and the Olympics, and now again at Queen’s,” said Federer.
“So, for me, he seems like maybe the most natural on this surface of the other guys. But then the other guys are already Wimbledon champions, Rafa and Novak. But, to me, Andy sort of stands out a little bit over the others.”
Murray, meanwhile, says he is comfortable with the fact he may never win Wimbledon, and that similar thoughts helped him win the Olympics and the US Open.
“It’s still an incredibly difficult tournament to win,” Murray said.
“The players that are around right now are so good and so consistent that it’s going to be a tough tournament for me to win, and I’ve thought about finishing my career and not winning Wimbledon and I’m comfortable with that.
“I can’t guarantee I’m going to win Wimbledon. I’m doing all I can to give myself the best possible chance. ”