Andy Murray must batter Roger Federer into submission

Olympic gold showed need for Scot to exploit any lead against Swiss rival in today's semi-final

Melbourne Park

Andy Murray has always loved the challenge of playing Roger Federer. Not only does he relish every chance to take on the greatest player in the sport's history, but he knows he has the game to beat him, even if the Swiss has come out on top in all three of their Grand Slam confrontations, in the finals at the US Open in 2008, here at the Australian Open in 2010 and last summer at Wimbledon.

Now, moreover, thanks to his memorable victory over Federer in last summer's Olympic final, Murray knows what it takes to beat him over a five-set match on one of the game's biggest stages. To use an image from the Scot's other great sporting passion, when you have your opponent on the ropes, you have to keep battering him until he hits the floor.

As he prepared for his 20th confrontation with the 31-year-old Swiss in today's semi-finals (Murray has won 10 of their meetings), the world No 3 recalled how his gold-medal triumph at the All England Club in August had transformed his season in 2012, providing him with the platform to end Britain's 76-year wait for a male singles Grand Slam champion by winning the US Open.

"The match at the Olympics was good for me mentally," Murray said. "To have played him over five sets and to have won quickly and convincingly was good for me to realise that once you get ahead of these guys you really need to stay on top of them. That's the difference between winning and losing against the best players over five sets."

He added: "Playing over five sets is different to playing over three sets. For him I'm sure that at this stage of his career he wants to play his best tennis at the Slams.

"I think the first time I played him at the US Open I didn't feel ready. The Wimbledon final was a good one – it was a very close match and it could have gone the other way. And the final here, again I had quite a few chances in that match too. Maybe I've just not converted as many chances as I needed to against him in the Slams and that's where his experience has probably told."

Murray believes last year's Wimbledon final also played a big part in his development as a player capable of winning the ultimate prizes. "I learned a lot from that match," he said. "I went through some things in that match that I really hadn't been through before. I won my first set in a Slam final. I had my chances in the second set, and then there was the delay with the roof.

"Regardless of what I said at the time, there was pretty significant pressure on me on that day as well. I think it's very unlikely I will play another match in my career where I was under as much pressure as that. I was very emotional at the end, but I felt like I handled the match well. I think I handled the situation pretty well and obviously played some of my best tennis just a few weeks after that at the Olympics."

Although Murray has not been stretched in any of his first five matches here – he has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament without dropping a set for only the second time in his career – he is confident that he will be able to raise his game against an opponent aiming to win the title here for a fifth time. "You just have to trust that when you are really pushed and tested in matches that your best game is going to come out," Murray said.

The prize for the winner will be a place in Sunday's final against Novak Djokovic, who is aiming to become the first player in the Open era to win this title three times in a row. The world No 1 delivered the most impressive performance yet in the men's competition here this year when he destroyed David Ferrer, the No 4 seed, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in yesterday's first semi-final. Djokovic, who described it as "definitely one of the best matches of my career", dropped just seven points on his serve in the whole match.

If Murray wins today he will equal Fred Perry's all-time British record of 106 match wins in Grand Slam tournaments. "It would be great," Murray said when asked what such a milestone would mean to him. "I think Perry missed quite a lot of years of playing when he went professional. That kind of changed things a little bit.

"But, yes, winning matches in Grand Slams isn't easy and I'm surprised that it's that many. I think Roger just got to 250 the other night. A lot of the guys now have got some unbelievable records, so I'll try to keep winning. It would be nice at the end of my career if I could get to the 200 mark. I think that's a good target."

Remember this, Rog? Murray v Federer - four of their best encounters

Tennis Masters Cup 2008, Shanghai: Murray won 4-6, 7-6, 7-5

Murray had already qualified for the semi-finals but could not resist the chance to knock Federer out in a three-hour thriller, although he paid for his exertions the following day when he was beaten by Nikolay Davydenko. "It was a great match, probably one of the best I've ever been involved in," Murray said afterwards.

Australian Open final 2010: Federer won 6-3, 6-4, 7-6

A high-quality match and much closer than the scoreline suggested, with Federer winning only 16 more points than Murray (116 to 100). Murray led 5-2 in the third set and had five set points in the tie-break. "I can cry like Roger, it's just a shame I can't play like him," a tearful Murray said at the presentation ceremony.

Wimbledon final 2012: Federer won 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4

At the fourth attempt Murray won his first set in a Grand Slam final but the match changed after the Centre Court roof was closed early in the third set because of rain. Murray had made the running in the early stages, but Federer, a master of indoor tennis, then took charge.

Olympic final 2012: Murray won 6-2, 6-1, 6-4

Fired up by his home crowd, Murray had played with passion and conviction from the start of the tournament. Federer was swept aside in less than two hours by a wave of attacking shots from the Scot, who triumphed just four weeks after losing to the Swiss on the same court in the Wimbledon final.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'