Some players might dread the thought of playing Roger Federer, but not Andy Murray, who meets the world No 2 this afternoon. "I would love to play Roger every week if I had the chance," Murray said. "It's a great experience every single time."
The Scot and the Swiss, who both won their opening matches on Sunday, meet in the round-robin stage of the end-of-year championships for the third year in succession. Two years ago Murray won a three-hour thriller that knocked Federer out of the competition before the semi-finals for the only time in his eight appearances. Last year Federer, having lost the first set, won 12 of the next 16 games to give Murray a masterclass in attacking tennis.
Murray is one of only a handful of players who have won more matches against Federer than they have lost. The Scot has won eight and lost five, although the Swiss has won both their meetings in Grand Slam tournaments, in the finals of the 2008 US Open and this year's Australian Open. Since Melbourne they have met twice, Murray winning in the Masters Series finals in Toronto in August and in Shanghai last month.
Federer pointed out that the two men have peaked at similar times this year, although he could not resist the opportunity to note that "the only difference is that I have the Slam, the 250, the 500 and the 1000," referring to his victories in Australia and at the three levels of tournaments on the ATP circuit. "Here it seems like we're both playing well again," Federer said. "I guess overall I've been a bit more consistent than he has, otherwise I wouldn't be in front in the rankings. He's had a great season and it's going to be a great match."
Like last year, the London crowd's support is likely to be evenly divided. Federer's popularity is reflected in a charity auction of pictures of this week's eight players, which were produced when they struck paint-covered balls against large canvases overlaid with stencilled action images of themselves. The pictures are on display here. By yesterday afternoon Federer's had attracted a top bid of £15,107, while Murray's highest stood at just £4,137.Reuse content