A year after Andy Murray’s reign as Wimbledon champion ended lamely at the hands of a man dubbed the new Roger Federer, he got a stark reminder on Friday that the original is the real threat to his grand slam ambitions. Twice grand slam champion Murray went out with a whimper against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in the 2014 quarter-finals as he struggled to regain form after back surgery. There will be no recriminations after losing 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 to 33-year-old Federer in Friday’s semi-final because, try as best he could, there was nothing he could do to stop the 17-times grand slam champion who, even by his standards, played a blinder. The world number three could not live with Federer’s laser-guided serving, nor match the blizzard of baseline winners the Swiss maestro produced from every conceivable angle. “He served fantastic, apart from the first game where I had a chance there,” said Murray who had just one break point and failed to return 41 per cent of Federer’s serves. “He served extremely well, close to the lines,” the Scot said. “It made it very difficult for me on the first serve return.” Murray fought valiantly to keep his hopes of a third Wimbledon final alive, particularly in a 15-minute game at 4-5 when he saved five second-set points. The 28-year-old played several stupendous shots as Federer turned the screws and even came up with a clean ace on his often maligned second serve. Had Murray somehow managed to steal that set, seven-times Wimbledon winner Federer may have suffered some inner doubts but before he even had time to catch breath, he was serving again at 5-6 and the Swiss pounced, winning a sensational 18-stroke rally. “I don’t feel like I played that badly,” said the Scot who lost to Federer in the 2012 final but beat the Swiss to win Olympic gold a few weeks later on Centre Court. “Some of those games at the end [of the second set] I think both of us played some unbelievable points. It felt like every point was getting finished with a winner. “I don’t know if it’s the best I’ve played in a loss. It’s tough to know. But I definitely don’t feel I played badly.” Murray will return to fight another day and will be one of the favourites at the US Open later this year but there could be another grand slam title in the family before then. Older brother Jamie plays in the men’s doubles final with John Peers on Saturday against Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau but he might not be watching. “I find it very difficult watching. I would love to. But I get extremely nervous,” said Andy.