No-sweat Federer says finals pressure all on Murray
Grand Slam master Roger Federer has shifted the weight of expectation onto the Scottish shoulder of Andy Murray as the pair prepare for their Sunday final at the Australian Open.sports Updated: Jan 30, 2010 09:45 IST
Grand Slam master Roger Federer has shifted the weight of expectation onto the Scottish shoulder of Andy Murray as the pair prepare for their Sunday final at the Australian Open.
With 15 Grand Slam titles in his pocket and holding boatloads of records in the game, the 28-year-old world number one has been down the road before.
Murray's experience is rather more limited, with his only other final at a major ending as a heart-breaking straight-set loss to the smooth Swiss in New York, 2008.
Murray has all of Britain expecting him to end a massive gap of nearly three-quarters of a century since the last British men's Grand Slam title, Fred Perry at Wimbledon, 1936.
"He's one match away - I'll make sure it won't happen," said Federer, a three-time Melbourne champion. "We'll see how it goes."
Federer has little more to do than prepare with calm determination after thrashing semi-final victim Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with the loss of just seven games,
"I know that he'd like to win the first title in British tennis in, what is it 150,000 years?" joked Federer. "It would be so nice for him.
"I'll have to be aggressive. We've had some different types of matches against each other. We sometimes like to jerk around on the court and play some high balls at each other. Definitely it will be tactical. It is always a tactical game against him."
Murray, 22, believes that he's ready to fulfill history. "I've played my best tennis so far, I just need to do it in one more match. I'll give it my best shot.
"There's a lot of pressure in Slam finals and with Roger, he's going to have the edge in experience. I feel like if I play my best like I have been this week and fight hard, I've definitely got a chance of winning."
Federer thinks the pressure on Murray could easily backfire. "I wouldn't be surprised if he's a bit fed up by it (talk of the title drought).
"I think he's done really well handling the pressure and considering that the media in England is very strong, I think he's done great - under the pressure."
Murray holds the 6-4 career edge but Federer stopped the rot after four straight losses in 2008 and early 2009, winning their last two encounters in Cincinnati and the London season finals.
The experienced Federer is contesting his 22nd Grand Slam final and feels comfortable in his accustomed role of favourite.
"He's playing me, who's won many Grand Slams prior to this, been able to win here three times so I know what it takes and how to do it, which is definitely an advantage.
"I don't feel like the pressure's really on me having to do it again, because I did it before. He really needs it more than I do, so I think the pressure's big on him. But we'll see how he's gonna handle it. It's not going to be easy for him, that's for sure."
Federer is bidding to become the first father to win a Grand Slam title since Andre Agassi claimed the 2003 Australian Open as father to 15-month-old Jayden. The Swiss could also win his 62nd career title, climbing to joint-sixth place in the historical table alongside Guillermo Vilas.