Murray returns to Wimbledon for final preparations as Federer showdown looms
13:55 GMT, 7 July 2012
Andy Murray was back at Wimbledon this afternoon, honing the skills that made him the first British man to appear in the men's final since Henry 'Bunny' Austin in 1938.
Under the watchful eye of coach Ivan Lendl, Murray appeared relaxed as he signed tennis paraphernalia for fans before starting the hard work on court.
And while the 25-year-old has British sporting history in his sights, he knows Swiss master Roger Federer is plotting to spoil the party.
The Scot gives short shrift to suggestions he will be facing Federer at anything other than the Swiss player's imperious best in the Wimbledon men's final, and believes he needs to find the 'perfect' performance.
The final countdown: Andy Murray and coach Ivan Lendl train at Aorangi Park
Federer, who is looking to equal Pete Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon titles, turns 31 next month and has not won a grand slam title since beating Murray to win the Australian Open two-and-a-half years ago.
But, while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have dominated the major finals, Federer has not been far behind and, after beating Djokovic in the semi-finals, he can reclaim the world No 1 ranking with victory.
Murray said: 'Over the last couple of years his record in the slams has been unbelievable. The matches that he lost here, he was up two sets to love against (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga last year.
'He's lost some close matches in the slams the last few years, but he had match points against Novak at the US Open two years in a row.
Fit as a fiddle: Murray looked lithe and sprightly as he prepared for Roger Federer
'If you look at the way he played (against Djokovic), you can't say he's past it or because he's 30 he's playing worse tennis. I just think the players around him have got better.'
Murray reached his first Wimbledon final and fourth Grand Slam decider with a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Tsonga to break a 74-year British hoodoo in the men's singles.
Eleven times a home player had reached the semi-finals since Bunny Austin made the final in 1938, including Murray the last three years, but all had fallen at the final hurdle.
With that sequence ended, now Murray can become the first British men's singles champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
Watchful eye: Murray puts in the hard yards in preparation for his fourth Grand Slam final
The Scot has come through a tough draw to reach the final and, although the whole country will be focused on Centre Court, Murray's main motivation comes from within.
He said: 'Almost every time you step on the court you're trying to prove something to yourself. I think that's what motivates you to get better. Also the players that are around me, as well.
'I think you can't stay at the top of any sport, especially one as competitive as tennis, if you don't have very good self motivation. I think that's very important.'
It will be the third time Murray and Federer have met in the finals of grand slams, with the Swiss triumphing at the US Open in 2008 and in Melbourne in 2010, both times in straight sets.
At full stretch: Murray warms up, knowing the biggest match of his life is only a day away
Murray tries not to look back, and he said: 'My coaches will watch his matches this week and some stuff from when I have played him before. I try not to watch before I play against him. I've seen some of his matches this week.
'I've learned from those matches that I lost against him in the past. But if you go too much into detail of things that happened in the past, it's not always beneficial, because in tennis every day is different. So I just need to try to make sure I play a perfect match on Sunday.'
Murray has also taken encouragement from some of Federer's recent grand slam losses, including the quarter-final defeat by Tsonga here last year.
That was the first time Federer had ever lost from two sets ahead at a grand slam, and he then did the same at the US Open against Djokovic in the semi-finals, letting two match points slip away.
Making their day: Murray braves the elements to sign autographs for fans
Murray said: 'Roger has lost a couple matches from a couple of sets up in the last few years. So, whereas in the past you might have thought going two sets down it was impossible, there's still time to come back.
'But ideally you want to try to get off to a good start. That would make a big difference, I'm sure.'
Murray has spent 16 hours and 45 minutes on court in reaching the final, four hours and 36 minutes more than Federer, and Tsonga feels that may impact on the Scot's chances.
The Frenchman said: 'It's going to be tough for Andy because he need to recover from the quarter-final (against David Ferrer) and this match against me.
Spot the winner: Tsonga is all smiles as Murray is overcome
'He looked pretty tired at the end, so I don't know how he will be physically. But I hope for him he will recover and have a chance against Roger.'
Murray is one of the hardest workers in the game, though, and he insists tiredness will not be a problem.
The world number four said: 'I felt fine (against Tsonga). I felt less tired than I did in the match with Ferrer because there weren't as many long rallies.
'It wasn't that tough physically. It was more mental. That was the hard part.'