Jan 14, 2009

Shut up before they hate you!

With the Australian Open campaign is on, practicing on court is just not enough. Some players will play the psychological war too.

But we hate any kind of war, don't we?

Roger Federer usually starts as the favourite to win the Australian Open. Not anymore.

Federer arrived in Australia over the weekend after losing to Andy Murray in the semifinals at Doha, Qatar.

Some British bookmakers listed Murray as the favourite to win the Grand Slam after he defended his Doha title and won an exhibition at Abu Dhabi.

Federer, who needs another Grand Slam to equal Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles, was surprised to hear it.
"Who said that? The bookies? Good for him," Federer said Tuesday at a news conference for the Kooyong exhibition tournament.

"It doesn’t help him a whole lot. I’ve been in that position before as well and didn’t make it."
Federer said Murray was a contender due to his form and no. 4 ranking, but winning a Grand Slam was a new level for him.
"He’s put himself in a great position. He started off well, going well in Doha. He finished strong last year. It still does surprise me that the bookies say that," Federer said.

"He’s never won a Slam."

"He’s shown for a year now he’s knocking on the door, trying to make his move.
Sure, he’s put himself in a position, but winning a Grand Slam is a different animal."

"Not many guys have been able to win a Grand Slam in the last few years. Rafa and me took a lot of them, Novak won here last year. They don’t come easily."
Murray then hit back at Roger jibe.
"You get used to being expected to win matches when you play at Wimbledon. The pressure that comes with that gets you used to these situations."

"The older you get, the more matches you play, you realise what the bookies are saying doesn't make any difference once you get on court, whether they are saying good things or bad things. You just get on with your job."
Murray has beaten Federer five times in their seven career meetings with his only defeats coming in their first meeting at Bangkok in 2005 and in the US Open final last year.
"The more you play against him the less fearful you are, you're not scared to win the match. If you're young and you play against the top guys, once you get close to winning you get nervous," Murray said.

"Now when I play him I don't get nervous and if I play my best tennis I can beat him."
Now I can't wait for the Australian Open to begin! Can Murray win his first Grand Slam here or is he going to prove Roger's comments right? We'll see.

(Via AP, independent.co.uk; Image by William West/AFP/Getty Images)

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