LONDON • Andy Murray finds himself in the unusual position of favourite to lift a second Wimbledon title today, with fate seemingly doing its best to make sure the British tennis player captures a third Grand Slam title.
The 29-year-old world No. 2 faces Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam final, in what will be the first Wimbledon title match since 2002 not to feature Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
It will also be Murray's first final from his 11 at the Grand Slams where he has not faced either Djokovic or Federer, against whom he has lost a combined eight times.
And, if Murray needed any more convincing that this will be the year when he adds to his 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon titles, it is seeing Ivan Lendl back in his coaching corner. It was the Czech who oversaw the Briton's triumphs in New York and London.
"It's obviously an opportunity. I put myself in a position to try and win the event again. It's someone new that I'm playing against in the final," said Murray, after breezing past Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych to reach his third Wimbledon final.
But the second seed will not underestimate Raonic, who reached the final by coming from two sets to one down to defeat seven-time champion Federer.
"Milos is a very tough opponent. He's played very well on the grass this year and has earned his right to the final by beating one of the best, if not the best player ever at this event," said Murray.
The Scot will take a 6-3 lead in his head-to-head record with Raonic into the final. He will be buoyed by defeating the 25-year-old on grass three weeks ago in the Queen's Club final, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-3.
Murray also came back from two sets to one down to beat the big Canadian in January's Australian Open semi-finals.
Raonic, who boasts a tournament-leading 137 aces and was a beaten semi-finalist in 2014, feels that Murray "is one of the premier workaholics".
"Andy tries to get you doing a lot of different things. He'll try to throw you off, give you some slower balls, some harder balls, all these kinds of things. I guess my goal is to keep him away from that, play it on my terms, be aggressive, not hesitate," said the Canadian.
In an interesting sub-plot, Raonic will have three-time champion John McEnroe in his box for the last time. McEnroe and Lendl were great rivals in their playing days when they met 36 times.
Men's singles final: Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 8.30pm