Murray's pain game
US Open champion knows what it takes to win a Slam — and it hurts. Today he will once again look within himself, seeking a final step to glory
Andy Murray is expecting to suffer pain when he faces Novak Djokovic here today in the Australian Open final – and as far as the 25-year-old Scot is concerned the more pain the better.
"I hope that's the case because that will mean it's a close match," Murray said as he looked forward to his third consecutive Grand Slam final. "Our game styles mean we play a lot of long rallies and close points. Both of us return very well and it's tough to get free points on serve. Every time we played last year they were really tough matches."
Djokovic and Murray met twice in Grand Slam play last year. Both were five-set marathons. Djokovic's victory in the semi-finals here took four hours and 50 minutes, which was four minutes less than Murray needed to beat the Serb in the US Open final.
Murray took four hours and five sets to beat Roger Federer in their semi-final here on Friday night, after which he said he would take painkillers and anti-inflammatories before going to bed. "When I wake up in the morning I'm sore," he said.
Djokovic is also expecting a major physical test. "Probably our last six or seven encounters have all been long matches, physically very demanding, going three sets and five sets in Grand Slams," the world No 1 said. "I guess we have to expect something similar to happen – long rallies – and I'm ready for that."
Murray, aiming to become the first man for 57 years to follow up his maiden Grand Slam singles title with victory in the next Slam, spent yesterday recovering before practising in the evening. He has had one day less than Djokovic to prepare for the final, though the Serb does not believe this will be a factor. "He's considered as one of the physically strongest and fittest guys around," Djokovic said. "I'm sure he's going to be fit for the final."
Paul Scholes: Emirates was the easy option for Mesut Ozil. He needs a leader - and Arsenal don't have them
Ronaldinho dream XI: John Terry, Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele are in as former Barcelona superstar names ideal side
Police want right of veto over 'high risk' Friday night fixtures in wake of new Premier League TV deal
Gareth Bale reveals the two things he hates about Real Madrid: 'Getting nutmegged and Spanish spiders'
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off his dance moves, including the moonwalk
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests