It’s a rematch of the 2012 US Open final Sunday night in Melbourne when Novak Djokovic collides with Andy Murray for the Australian Open title. The two 25-year-old rivals meet for an 18th time and for a third straight year in the first Grand Slam of the season.
“I know he had a lot of hair, a lot of curly hair,” Djokovic joked looking back when the two were kids. “He was quite pale also. But he got more sun I think over the years training in Barcelona. He has more of a tan now than when he was a junior.”
Murray beat Djokovic in a 5-set thriller last September at the US Open to win his maiden Grand Slam. Djokovic returned the favor twice since but this marks their first meeting in a Major.
Djokovic enters the match on a 20-match win streak in Australia as the Serb seeks an Open Era record third straight Australian Open title and a sixth overall Grand Slam at one of his most successful courts on the circuit.
“It’s my most successful Grand Slam,” Djokovic said Saturday. “Being in a third consecutive final is an incredible feeling and achievement, so very proud of it. I just think that also a big reason is it’s the first big tournament of the year. Now we had a little bit longer off season which gave us more time to recharge our batteries, to work on some things, to get ready. You know, you come out here and you want to win the first big trophy of the year. I guess that’s a fresh start that everybody wants.”
Match time is 7:30pm local time in Melbourne.
NO. 1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) v NO. 3 ANDY MURRAY (GBR)
Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 10-7
A 2nd consecutive Grand Slam final for the 2 players who are only separated in age by one week.
Murray and Djokovic are the closest Grand Slam finalists by age. Murray is just 7 days older than Djokovic. The previous closest Grand Slam finalists were Guillermo Vilas and Jimmy Connors at the 1977 US Open. Vilas was 16 days older than Connors.
Murray defeated Djokovic to win his first Grand Slam title at the 2012 US Open. It is the only time Djokovic has lost a 5-set match in his last nine 5-set encounters.
Today’s match-up is a repeat of the 2011 Australian Open final, which Djokovic won in straight sets.
Winner receives (AUS) 2,430,000 and 2000 ATP Ranking points. The finalist (AUS) 1,215,000 and 1200 ATP Ranking points.
For 4 out of the past 5 years, the man who played his semifinal second has been the one who won the final, so recent history would suggest that Murray has the advantage in winning the 2013 Australian Open title.
This is just the 14th Grand Slam final between the No. 1 seed and No. 3 seed. In Grand Slam Open Era meetings between the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds, the No. 1 seed has an 11-2 win-loss record. The last time the No. 3 seed defeated the No. 1 seed in a Grand Slam final was when Mats Wilander defeated Ivan Lendl at the 1983 Australian Open.
DJOKOVIC is looking to become the first man in the Open Era and just the 3rd man ever to win 3 consecutive Australian Open titles. Only 2 men, Jack Crawford (1931-33) and Roy Emerson (1963-1967) have won 3 or more in a row.
15 different men have won back-to-back titles in Australia, but only 2 (Crawford, 1931-1933 and Emerson, 1963-1967) have won 3 or more in a row.
In the Open Era, 9 players have won 2 consecutive Australian Open titles but failed in their attempt to win 3 in a row.
Djokovic is also bidding to become just the 3rd man in the Open Era to win 4 Australian Open titles.
Djokovic won his 5th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last year (d. Rafael Nadal). He has a 5-4 win-loss record in his 9 previous Grand Slam finals.
Djokovic is also just the 12th man to reach 10 Grand Slam finals in the Open Era. At 25 years 250 days, he is the 7th youngest man to reach 10 Grand Slam finals in the Open Era.
Djokovic needed 5 hours and 2 minutes to defeat Stanislas Wawrinka in the round of 16 here. It was the fourth-longest match on record at the Australian Open. It was also his 8th victory in his last nine 5-set matches. His only loss in that time came against Andy Murray in the 2012 US Open final.
MURRAY is bidding to become the only first-time Grand Slam winner to immediately claim a second major at the next opportunity.
By reaching the final here, Murray has become the first man in the Open Era to reach the final at the next Grand Slam event after winning his first major title.
Murray is bidding to become the most successful British man in Grand Slam history by taking sole ownership of first place for the most Grand Slam matches won by a Brit. He has won 106 matches at the majors, the same number as Fred Perry and 8 ahead of 3rd placed Tim Henman (98).
Murray is looking to become the first British man to win the Australian Open since Fred Perry defeated Jack Crawford in 1934.
Murray is the first British player, man or woman, to reach 3 consecutive Grand Slam finals in the Open Era. The last British man to reach 3 consecutive Grand Slam finals was Fred Perry, who finished runner-up at 1936 Roland Garros before winning 1936 Wimbledon and the 1936 US Open.
Murray is the 14th different man in the Open Era to reach 3 consecutive Grand Slam finals. This is the 21st time a player has reached 3 or more consecutive Grand Slam finals in the Open Era.
SUNDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena 4:00 PM Start Time
1. Mixed Doubles – Final
Lucie Hradecka (CZE)/Frantisek Cermak (CZE) v. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)/Matthew Ebden (AUS)
Not Before:7:30 PM
2. Men’s Singles – Final
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v. Andy Murray (GBR)
Novak Djokovic 8/15 v Andy Murray 6/4
WEATHERUNDERGROUND MELBOURNE FORECAST
Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain. High of 72F. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
ESPN has live coverage starting at 3:30am Saturday morning.
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Australian Open Men’s Final Open Thread: Rafael Nadal v Stanislas Wawrinka
US Open Men’s Final Open Thread: Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal