A stunning and exciting final has suited up for the 2016 Australian Open. Andy Murray fought the Canadian, Milos Raonic, very hard to get to his fifth Australian Open final, with a long five set victory over him on Friday, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2. Now standing in front of him now is a for who has beaten him in his past three appearances there, so for sure Murray will be seeking revenge.
The world number one, Novak Djokovic will try to stop Murray and add to his long list of acheievments. It did seem at the beginning of the tournament, that he was struggling to get into his classic dominating flow in Melbourne over the past two weeks, but the first two sets of his victory over Roger Federer were incredible if not almost perfect, and stunned fans who were sure they just witnessed the best game this five-time champion has played recently.
If you look at the two finalists, and match up their careers head-to-head, it’s obvious that Djokovic should have the lead and be the outright favourite. He has a 21-9 record over Murray and has lost only once in the 11 meetings between them since the 2013 Wimbledon final. That’s a pretty big mountain to climb for Murray.
Murray is probably a very qualified and intimidating underdog, because the British number one has kept true to his game and played so strong against Raonic, that he should bring that blistering energy to face off with the Serb. His confidence is hight and there is nothing to suggest that he is anything but absolutely sure he will claim a third Grand Slam title on Sunday. He’s expecting a baby that could come into the world at any moment, so he could be celebrating more than just a win tomorrow.
The final begins at 8.30am UK time, 3:30am on Sunday morning in New York, an such an early start for tennis fans or late however you look at it, will have people from all over up at odd hours hoping that Murray can overcome the odds and defeat Djokovic.
But before Murray fans get their hopes up, they have to look at Murray and Djokovic’s records in the finals. The Brit seems to like the former British colony, and has not made more final appearences in any Grand Slam event than in the five he has reached in Melbourne, when you compare to his visit to the two in the US Open and Wimbledon. The strange thing is that he has titles to claim from both of those two latter tournaments, but his record in Australia is pretty disappointing.
Murray’s made his first appearance in 2010, and Roger Federer taught him a quick and brutal lesson in straight sets, but since then it’s been Djokovic who has blocked his path to victory amnd kept him from claiming the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. In 2011 he lost in straight sets, in 2013 and 2015 he took just one from the Serb. So tomorrow could shape up to be just like that, or has Murray learned anything from those losses?
Australia has been lucky for the Serbian, when you add his victories over Murray, he has two more Australian open crowns from 2008 and 2012. And intimidating fact; he has never lost in the final in the Rod Laver Arena.
So it’s easy to guess who is the favourite. When you look at betting odds, it’s of little surprise that Djokovic is dominating the odds-on favourite to take the final. The odds are even better for Djokovic to win in straight sets, and the oddsmakers just make it abvious how great a gulf the Brit has to cover to win.
When reportters asked Murray on his record against the world number one, he said: “The previous disappointments, it’s one tennis match, it doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past really. It’s about what happens on Sunday. People like to read into what’s happened in the past, but Stan beat Rafa in the final here. I don’t think he’d ever won against him in 13 attempts. When he beat Novak here, the same thing as well. There’s no reason it’s not possible for me to win.”
He could be right, but when Djokovic was asked about his show against Federer, he told media: “I came out with I think a great deal of self-belief and confidence and intensity, concentration. I played flawless tennis for the first two sets, no doubt about it.”
If Djokovic continues on that path and plays more flawless tennis, Murray has no chance down under.