Australian Open 2016 Final Preview: Can Murray Break Through at Last?

As promised, I am back with a preview of the men’s final. I see Serena Williams lost to Angelique Kerber in the women’s final which just goes to show you how unpredictable tennis is. Did I just mention women’s tennis? Wow, that must be a first!

In all seriousness, I don’t follow women’s tennis but I think most people more-or-less had Williams as a lock for the title. She is basically like a Djokovic of the men’s side. It’s funny how everyone expected her to win the calender slam last year but then she lost in the US Open semis which meant Djokovic had a better year in the slams than her and overall.

Anyway, my point was that in tennis you just never know. I think many people basically have the Djoker as a lock for the title as well, but it is not a certainty at all. And not in the least because Murray has beaten Djokovic twice in slam finals before.

Of course, Djokovic is a better player now than he was in 2012-13, but it’s not like Murray goes into this slam final with Djokovic having never tasted victory before. That said, it doesn’t help his cause that he has only won one match against Djokovic since that last slam final victory at Wimbledon in 2013.

That victory came in the Canada Masters final last year. Sure it is best of three but it proved once again that Murray should not be underestimated. I just think the Plexicushion suits the Djoker’s game to a T and he feels very much at home in Melbourne.


There is also more history up for grabs this year for Djokovic after he broke the record for most Australian Open titles in the open era last year. This time, he is after Roy Emerson’s amateur era record of six titles.

It certainly helps when there is one slam where you feel you are almost guaranteed to pick up a title each year if you are looking to rack up plenty of slams. Federer had Wimbledon and Nadal had the French Open.

If Djokovic can keep winning the Australian Open for a few more years and perhaps Wimbledon too where he seems awfully comfortable these days then he just needs to pick up the French and the US Open a few more times and he’d be well on his way to GOAThood.

But I am now getting way ahead of myself. Just winning the title tomorrow is a big enough challenge. Always first things first. If Djokovic loses tomorrow then all of a sudden he loses momentum. If there is one place he is expected to win the title it is in Melbourne and that creates its own pressure.

As far as the match goes, you better believe Murray will have a very specific game plan to try and unsettle Djokovic. From what I hear, his second serve has improved. It will be important for him to stay aggressive on his second serve and aggressive overall. But maybe most importantly he must not give any ‘business to his box‘ as Brad Gilbert puts it.


Is Murray/Mauresmo a match for Djokovic/Becker?

If he starts doing that it will give Djokovic a mental boost and things will go south fast for him. Murray is very prone to yell obscenities at his box and from what I can remember the only coach who succeeded in making Murray relent from doing so was Lendl.

It should be no surprise then that he won his two slams while Lendl was coaching him. I stand corrected but I think Lendl is the one who ended that partnership which I thought back then already was a big blow to Murray.

But we will see what his behaviour is like in the final. Maybe he can somehow control himself. As for Djokovic, he will surely feel very confident after his beatdown of Federer in the first two sets especially. Just an extraordinary display of baseline mastery.

Federer didn’t know what hit him, and if Djokovic comes out playing like that again Muray will be in for a world of hurt. That would be difficult to do though and Murray provides a different challenge than Federer altogether.

It will be harder to end points against Murray, which means Djokovic will need to be more patient. It won’t be the spectacular tennis of the Djokerer semi-final, but it is nonetheless going to be an interesting game of chess from the baseline. I just saw this tweet from Brad Gilbert:

That pretty much sums it up. If Murray is to win the match it is basically imperative that he wins the first set. If he loses the first set the odds are heavily stacked against him and not only because of the stats.

After a five-setter with Raonic in the semis and one fewer day of rest, it becomes even more important for him to win the first set. So expect Djokovic to come out strong and really try to get that first set under the belt.

Who will win the 2016 Australian Open?

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That accuracy   =D>

The is in your court.

Posted in Australian Open, Grand Slams.


  1. Hi Ru-an,

    I see very slim chance Murray can overcome Djokovic after survived that gruelling 5 set match with Roanic. Besides having a extra day rest and being fresher,Djokovic has owned Murray in the past 2-3 years and his fitness and mental edge is just too much for Murray to handle at this point in their career.

    Djokovic is just at a different level than everyone else, until someone comes along to challenge him he is likely to win many slams. The only player I see can stop him is Wawrinka who can out hit him just like what he did in AO 14 and FO last year. However, Wawrinka is no longer in the tournament else we would expect a much exiting and closer final than this one, which is more likely a replica of last year’s match.

    I would also like to comment about Federer’s disappointing loss. Well, as a Fed fan I am kind of expected him to lose. However, I was expecting a closer 4 set match than the first 2 sets which he was basically grilled alive. Only by winning the 3rd set he didn’t get humiliated. Instead of getting closer to winning the match, the gap between him and Djokovic is further than ever. It’s also a wake up call for Federer he needs to take Djokovic seriously and prepare a different strategy than playing him like every other players. It didn’t work for him and never will. His opportunity is limited now turning 35 years soon and the younger players will start coming up hence he it is no longer just Djokvoic he needs to beat. He has done extremely well at his age but if he really want to win another GS (before he retires) he better start lower his pride and recognise Djokovic is a far better player than him ;and ;stop looking back his prime years thinking he is still the old self everyone fears.

    It’s the same issue Fed had with Nadal even at his prime, often shelf-shocked by how good the shots coming back to him. Now, he has the same mental block versus Djokovic he had against Nadal thinking the match is at his hands and not earned by his opponent. Only then he can play freely and waiting for the moment before striking the ball as Djokovic will get pass him almost every ball.

    If not, I am afraid before enduring the sliding head to head record against Djokovic , he has to endure the pressure keep losing to him in every slams and watching his 17 GS records get broken.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi IWC, nice to hear from you! Long time. Excellent objective comment by a Fedfan. Federer did get grilled alive in the first two sets. It is that kind of honesty that Federer and many of his fanatical fans lack which serves as a kind of egotistical pride that prevents him from making progress against Nole.

    He and his fans can’t admit that the match is not on his racquet so he brings the same old tactics to the court expecting to win. It’s just not happening. Like you say, it is getting worse even. Djokovic smashed him in those first two sets and clearly the match was on his racquet, not on Federer’s.

    It is that kind of denial and pride which has cost Federer against the likes of Nadal and Djokovic and which they use against him. Same old story. Anyway, I admire the fact that you don’t fall into the same trap and that you are an objective Fedfan. The Federer cult would never admit that he is getting grilled alive and that the match is not on his racquet anymore.

    They are too busy with their daily worship.


    universal123 Reply:

    To be honest Ru-an Novak is playing so well right now that if he continues to play like this he will win every single tournament he plays this year. Obviously he won’t, because an occasional bad match is inevitable even for the very best players, but it will have to be combined with a great performance from someone else. That actually gave me an idea. How many matches do you think Djokovic will lose this year Ru-an (or anyone else)? My guess is 5. In the whole season.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey, Charlie. Yes, he is playing extremely well right now, breadsticking Nadal, Federer, and Murray in the last few weeks. Just unreal. I think his level has improved from last year hard as that may be to believe. I don’t want to predict how many matches he will lose this year but if he continues in this vein he will be extremely hard to beat.


    IWC2016 Reply:

    Hi Ru-an,

    My account was not working for a while.

    Fed is still my favourite player that will not change.

    However, the reality is Djokovic is the one to beat and the obstacle to adding GS 18 to his titles.

    Judging from the match he was mentally giving up out of frustration by foolishly serve and volley on 2nd serve down 30-40 in the 4th set. He still might not win but at least make it more competitive and could take the match to 5th set. Then, you still have a case he has improved against Djokovic.

    I think Djokovic make him look slow and powerless though he can still beat other top players easily (except Nadal, but he is in decline). The problem he is not going away and on the way (perhaps next year) getting to Fed’s 17th GS milestone. Besides having all the strokes Djokovic is super fit so he can run for hours, and a mental beast like Nadal.

    All is not looking good for Federer to keep his GOAT intact. He is not getting any fitter as he ages, and mentally he is not as strong. What else can he improve is the question as what ever has done been done? He is no doubt still the most talented and the skillful master. Djokovic, however, is the master now, like it or not.


    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, IWC. What can he do to improve? Well, like we said for one adjust his mentality of always thinking the match is on his racquet? Maybe that’s the attitude that makes him S&V on his second serve at 30-40 in the 4th set.


  2. I’ve just read the news Federer had knee surgery right after AO and will be out of action for a month.

    Not sure if it had anything to do with his semi match with Djokovic but certainly not a good sign. Djokvoic will be even more super confident by then winning all the hard court tournaments, and Fed would need time to recover to his best form.

    These are some of the things come with age and could affect his confidence. The next time they meet in a GS probably would be Wimbledon if both make it deep. Grass is Federer’s best service hence he has a shot but need to win the first set to have a slight chance to beat Djokovic which he didn’t in the last 3 GS they played.

    With Nadal still not at his best form , Murray’s focus on the new born and Federer out of action for a while, Djokovic is likely to win it all in the U.S. hard court tournaments. He certainly would win FO unless he meet a player like Wawrinka who play out of his mind.

    A calendar slam is very possible but it’s still too early to predict till the FO is over.


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