Love it Linda
From the AO website
Day 12 preview: A whole new ball game
Friday, 25 January, 2013
By Tom Tebbutt
Friday night will see no repeat of the Rod Laver Arena scene three years ago when Andy Murray lost in the final to Roger Federer and dissolved into tears, famously saying, “I can cry like Roger, it’s just a shame I can’t play like him.”
No repeat because the loser of an Australian Open semi-final usually doesn’t get a chance to do an on-court interview appearance after the match.
Murray’s heartfelt sentiments following the 2010 final came from a 22-year-old who had not yet established his bona fides in the elite rung of world tennis.
Three years later, fresh from triumphs at the last two major events in the sport – the Olympic Games and the US Open – Murray is transformed in mind and body.
A mere glance at his pectoral-accentuating adidas top confirms that he has developed a seriously sculpted physique. And his psyche has been relieved of the burden of having to end that 76-year old Grand Slam drought by British males, which dated back to the 1930s and Fred Perry dashing about in white trousers.
Murray’s undeniable physicality stands in stark contrast to Federer, who joked this week that he wasn’t about to remove his shirt after winning as Novak Djokovic sometimes does. Because of his “little left arm,” Federer said, “it would be a bit embarrassing.”
Both players appear in positive frames of mind heading into their marquee semi-final.
“I’m feeling a little calmer maybe than usual,” Murray said comparing himself to 12 months ago at Melbourne Park.
“I did well,” Federer commented after masterly managing the ebbs and flows of a 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday night. “I’ve been moving well all week.”
Federer and Murray have played 19 times, with Murray ahead 10-9, but Federer has won their three previous Grand Slam meetings at the loss of just one set.
Although they split two matches late last year – Shanghai (Murray) and London (Federer) – the two that are most relevant to what happens in Rod Laver Arena on Friday night both took place at the All England Club last July. Federer won the Wimbledon final 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 and then Murray took the gold medal 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 at the Olympics.
At Wimbledon, after two extremely competitive sets, the roof was closed and Federer soared, playing sublimely to simply outclass Murray.
At the Olympics, it’s hard to imagine the Swiss wasn’t feeling the effects of his 3-6, 7-6(5), 19-17, nearly four-and-a-half hour, semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro when he played Murray two days later. For a seven-time Wimbledon champion to win only three games on grass over the first two sets seems unusual, to put it mildly.
He insinuated as much earlier this week and has said in the past, “I don’t know what I was, just maybe not so sharp.”
The style and content of Federer’s matches with Murray have evolved over the years. As Federer noted Wednesday, “it’s changed a bit because he’s playing more offensive. The rallies aren’t as long and grueling as they used to be.”
Backing their charges in the stands will be Paul Annacone for Federer, and Ivan Lendl for Murray. Annacone is a personable, gentle fellow who sits courtside with admirable equanimity, all things concerned.
Lendl is a brooding Buddha, not giving anything away – except the wisdom that has helped take Murray’s game to a new level, one that makes picking a winner of Thursday night’s match a 50-50 proposition.TOM’S INTREPID TIP
Murray def. Federer in four: With their six-year age difference, Murray is fated to overtake the 31-year-old mighty Federer sometime soon – as soon as tonight under the stars in Rod Laver Arena.
Both on court later today for a bit of fine tuning before the real thing.