They don't dare whisper it. Some of them don’t even dare to think about it. Because as Great Britain marches into its soggy summer of sport, the dream of Andy Murray winning Wimbledon is still alive and looks healthier than ever. For a while, during what can only be described as an outstanding quarterfinal against David Ferrer, it looked like Murray would falter again. But as the clock climbed towards 8pm and the sun began to set over SW19, Murray finally finished a match before the Wimbledon officials once again had the chance to demonstrate the wonders of their concertina roof.
Up next? The one man who isn't in the top four of the men's game but probably deserves to be: Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Murray's path to the semifinals has been tough, it has been dramatic, and it has called on every ounce of his energy. If he could be accused of playing below his best in a few of the rounds, he found his form, range and serve against Ferrer to take an impressive win against a man who has played brilliant tennis over the last 10 days.
But while Murray has to perhaps up his form a notch in the semifinals, Tsonga is right where he wants to be. Yes, the big Frenchman has dropped sets. And yes, against Mardy Fish there was a moment where it looked like he might be on shaky ground. But that is Tsonga's way. The conqueror of Lleyton Hewitt in the first round, he was worked his way quietly and brilliantly through the draw to reach his second Wimbledon semifinal in two years.
Crucially, though, Murray has had the measure of the Frenchman in all but one of their previous six encounters (and that was during Tsonga's breakthrough run to the Australian Open final in 2008). But the 2012 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga is a different beast from the man who has wowed the crowds in years gone by. He is more focused, he has closed the gap on the top four, and he represents a very real threat to Murray's ambition. An ambition that has caused Murray to crack in the past. With history beckoning he's going to need a strong head, nerves of steel and a perfect range to down the most flamboyant man left in the draw.
Whoever does win that semifinal can sit safe in the knowledge that they will go into the final playing against a man who could well be world No. 1 on Monday morning. If Djokovic wins his semifinal clash with Federer then his position at the top of the tree is safe. If Federer wins the Championship, he takes back the top spot. Not only that, he equals Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles and would surely surpass Sampras’ record of 286 weeks as world No.1 (Federer is currently on 285). It adds a fascinating twist to what has become an interesting rivalry over the last few years.
Of course, at this stage in proceedings the armchair pundit would say that all of the cards favour the incumbent No.1 (Djokovic) as opposed to the man who ruled the world for so long. Because despite Federer leading their head-to-head mini series 14-12, Djokovic has been utterly dominant in the matches they have played since the Serb started his extraordinary run in 2011. Out of seven meetings since the start of 2011 Djokovic has won six, and he's 3-1 in Grand Slams. What's more, the way he dismissed Federer in the semis at Roland Garros (when neither man was on top form) must have worried the Swiss maestro.
And if that didn’t his back probably does. Because it is no secret that Federer has been subject to the odd niggle this Wimbledon. Whether or not that was the reason for his tough five-set win over Julian Benneteau, it's safe to say that against Djokovic he faces the most physical, resilient player in the world at the moment. If the back holds up, the serves work and the groundstrokes find their spot then Federer can do it. If they don't, the dream of reclaiming the world No.1 spot, taking a seventh Wimbledon title, and cementing his place in the history books will surely disappear with him.