The 2013 Australian Open men’s singles final is being played today at 7:30pm local time in Melbourne, Australia between No.1 seed Novak DJOKOVIC and No.3 seed Andy MURRAY. OnCourt Advantage will be watching the match from the very first point, it promises to be a fiercely competitive battle between two physically fresh opponents steeling themselves for an intense challenge of their mental and emotional mettle.
The player who will emerge victorious at Melbourne Park today will be the one that can release his mind from the pressure, expectation, tension, frustration and self-doubt at the key moments and when confronted with adverse situations.
Above all else, it is the service motion that is most prone to the crippling effects of tension and stress. This is due to the fact that a player needs high confidence, relaxation and looseness to be able to execute with fluidity and towards his best. The critical junctures of serving for a set, serving during a tiebreak and serving for The Championship are the most critical moments in a match for the service motion, so pay particular attention to see who can execute and display true championship qualities at these times.
In any service game where either player misses the majority of his first serves, the probability that he will have his service game broken is extremely high due to the fact that both players possess amazing return of serve strengths. In 2012 Djokovic won 35% of all return games from his 87 matches, whilst Murray won 31% of his return games from his 72 matches, placing them at No.2 and No.6 on the ATP Tour for the year respectively.
One of the most interesting statistics today that will largely determine the outcome will be the percentage of break points converted. Historically, Djokovic has the better conversion rate, however Murray has made significant improvement in his serving as he showed by out serving Federer in the semi finals.
Given this will be their 18th professional tour match, that these two friends have practiced together numerous times and watched each other play so often, you would expect they both know each others games inside out which increases the likelihood that we will witness high quality tennis.
The 1.9m Murray is playing his third Australian Open singles final in the past four years and his sixth Grand Slam singles final. The Scot has a 1-4 win-loss record in these finals, but most importantly he now has the self-belief and momentum after winning the most recent Slam final, the 2012 US Open. Better still, for Murray he KNOWS he can do it against Djokovic as Novak was his US Open final opponent.
The 25-year-old Murray has a 29-7 win-loss record at the Australian Open and could be the first man in the Open-era to win back-to-back Grand Slam singles titles after recording his first Grand Slam title victory.
The 1.88m Djokovic has the opportunity to become the first played in the Open-era to win three consecutive Australian Open singles titles. The 25-year-old (actually just 1 week younger than Murray), is playing his fourth Australian Open final in the past six years where he has a 3-0 record.
Head-to-Head Djokovic versus Murray
Djokovic leads Murray 10-7 in their career head-to-head meetings, including winning the two of the most recent matches at the ATP Tour Finals and the Shanghai Masters. Murray made a huge break through in 2012 by winning major tournaments: the London Olympics and the US Open where he defeated Djokovic in both events.
Murray and Djokovic have only ever played on three occasions in Grand Slam events, twice in the final where they have one win each and once in last year’s Australian Open semi finals. All bar three of their 17 matches have been on hard court with Nole holding the 8-6 edge. Murray has the edge in winning when these two play-off for the title at 4-3. However, Djokovic has a 2-0 record over Murray at what he professes to be his favourite court and the specific type of hard court that best suits his game, the Australian Open’s Rod Laver Arena.
I for one, cannot wait until it’s SHOWTIME! Who do YOU think will win and why?
© photo credit: Head Tennis