Even after a four hour bout with Federer, Murray will edge out Djokovic too
01:12 GMT, 26 January 2013
09:16 GMT, 26 January 2013
After a four-hour match against Roger Federer, Andy Murray has a day less to prepare for the final than Novak Djokovic. But Andy is a very fit guy, and I’m not sure it makes that much difference.
It is not like the US Open where there is no rest day at all. Djokovic will know he had a cakewalk in the semis against David Ferrer; that will give him a little edge.
He made the world No 4 look like the No 100. He has won this title three times before. It is his most successful major.
Head in the game: Andy Murray has cut down on his tantrums and become far more focused on court
Ice bath: He has a day less to rest and prepare for the final than Djokovic
Andy is playing as well as I have ever seen him. His serve is more accurate and heavy than before and his forehand is improved, too.
A few years ago, a lot of Andy’s game was about great defence, amazing movement and his backhand. But watching him against Federer, I was thinking it has been quite some transformation as his serve and forehand were the dominant shots.
He’s much more aggressive now and he’s not relying on defence any more.
He still has that in his locker but he’s much more attacking. It is partly down to confidence. He’s hitting a lot more winners. He served 21 aces against Federer, more than four times as many as the Swiss.
To have served only two double faults in the tournament is incredible. He will need to keep up that level as he is playing the world’s best returner.
Before, he too often was getting only 55 per cent of his first serves in. Now it’s 10 per cent higher. He can be freer on the court and take more risks.
Honest: Federer was gracious in defeat and admitted Murray outplayed him and deserved to win
His attitude is better, too. After that altercation in the fourth set with the umpire, he didn’t lose focus or mutter to his support team. He went and won the fifth instead.
It’s great watching him focusing on his tennis rather than getting distracted during matches.
Unfortunately for Andy, Djokovic does not have a weakness. His serve and forehand are also better than they have ever been.
Weapon: Murray's serve demolished Federer for most of the match
The pair are mirror images of each other and the world’s two best players at the moment. It will come down to who executes the big points best.
What will also be key is who can defend their second serve better. Andy showed resolve in his US Open final win against Djokovic. I’m sure that came from talking to Ivan Lendl about his experiences at the top.
I don’t think you’ll see the same probing rallies as in New York but more attacking, shorter rallies. It will be cool, which slows the court, too.
This match is what we call in American football a 'pick-em' – it's too close to call.
My hunch, though, is that Murray will edge it.
Warning signs: After looking rocking against Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic cruised past David Ferrer