The classic Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal final has been replaced by what might become one of the future classics of the Grand Slams finals: Andy Murray-Novak Djokovic. Both being ambitious, 23-year-olds, they're among the players who never got discouraged by the outstanding domination of Roger and Rafa. Yes, sometimes it was getting tough on them. They've suffered and even got depressed, like in 2010 when Murray failed in Australia, the second time that had happened in a Grand Slam final against Federer. But they've been improving and improving again. They're still on the rise. They know they're able to make their way here despite the dominance of the sport's two giants.
This final is very open. If Murray happens to win it, he'd finally win his first major title. This victory could set him free and help him to make his career enter a new dimension. The Scotsman owns a very unique talent but he's still playing in the shadow of Rafa and Fed. This extra confidence given by this first title could give a new face to his career. Concerning the Serbian, he's already giving a new rise to his journey since the second half of 2010 with the US Open semifinal, where he won against Roger Federer, a nice indoor season and, more important, the Davis Cup triumph where Nole was decisive.
Djokovic and Murray have a lot of common points. They're friends, having known each other for many years and often training together. They're both born in 1987, so they've regularly faced each other in the youth tournaments, like in the Petits As final in Tarbes. Their game style is quite similar in the way that they're both counter punchers. They're both really efficient in longer points, but they also know how to shorten them when an opportunity is coming. Their serve is great and they're among the best in the world when it comes to returning. They've built a really high fitness level and can defend their ground like no one else.
The Serbian has the edge over the Scotsman on a few different levels. Physically, I think he's even fitter because his body is perfectly suited for this sport. He's slender, explosive and very flexible. If the match goes on and reaches five sets, I'll give an advantage to the Serbian, even with the heat. I think he'll be able to stay fresher if it happens. Andy, despite a top-level training, is heavier and more muscular. We should get lots of long rallies in this match and physical abilities will be crucial.
Nole is having now the best time of his career, he comes into this after his Davis Cup victory, which brought him an amazing confidence. He feels very strong, maybe stronger than ever. I've always been strike by his determination. He believes in his abilities, he's claiming his ambition and nothing can stop his will. I'm convinced since several years now that he'll become the No. 1 player in the world as soon as both champions in front of him will slow down a bit and so leave him some space. He's going to be very tough to beat, as he's so eager to win.
Undoubtedly, in my opinion, the Scotsman is taking the edge when the overall game level is concerned. I find Andy amazingly gifted, able to display some shots and sequences that he's the only one to master. He can play some magical tennis and it can give him an advantage because it helps to turn a match. At any given moment, he's able to change the story with four outstanding shots. Furthermore, his game owns more variation. He can hurt his opponent at any time on a single shot; he can speed up the game like no one, especially on his backhand. Andy is probably better that Novak on his serve. The Scotsman struggles sometimes with his timing on this shot and it leads to his first serve percentage falling because his serve toss is too far ahead of his body. But this shot is crushing with Andy and often helps him to be saved from tough times.
Andy will be very focused on his serve. He knows he has to put a lot of first serves in. Both players will try to turn around their backhand after their first serve in order to win the point in two shots. Get over it quicker and it's better for them. We should get a great backhand battle, this shot being their favourite. But Novak shouldn't stay too long in this diagonal. I think Andy is better than him in this. He will have to open the game to use his forehand, with which he can speed up and end the points quicker. Andy will have to be wary, because when Nole will open the game, the Scotsman will have just one chance to strike. Djokovic will go for the Scotsman's forehand, because Andy is sometimes not that comfortable on that side. Murray will try to stick Novak on his backhand in order to display his famous backhand down the line. If both players can keep their serve, they'll be offensive on each other's second serve and will use each given chance to put the pressure on.
Guys, have a good match.