2010 Australian Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Finals
Stay tuned to Nick’s Pick throughout the 2010 Australian Open for in-depth coverage of the tournament!
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Roger Federer (SUI)
Murray is 6-4 against Federer, but FedEx has won the last two times they played in 2009. I’ve watched countless hours of Australian Open coverage and this final will be as interesting and thrilling as it gets. I will give you an in-depth analysis of each player’s game, breaking down every part of it and I will end with my pick.
|Roger Federer||Andy Murray|
|Return of Serve||XX||XXX|
Federer – On the groundstrokes, Federer has a more compact swing, allowing him to hit every early, which includes the return of serve. His forehand is similar to that of Pete Sampras: the ball hits and runs and doesn’t have a high bounce with more than the normal spin (quite flat).
Murray – He has cut down on his backswing, which has helped him play closer to the baseline, but his balls are not as penetrating as Federer’s.
Federer – When you talk about one-handed backhands, I would say that Federer has one of the best ever. He can do so many things with it, including a biting slice, dipping with lots of spin, the drop shot, and he can attack with it. One thing that he does have problems with is the return of serve against high kickers and into the body.
Murray – His backhand ranks with the very best and reminds me of Andre Agassi (especially on the return of serve). I would say that his slice was better than Andre’s because it gives him time to recover and to change the tempo of the rally.
Federer – This brings him back into the game when he is down a break point or when he needs a big shot. He is able to place it so well with power that it is a big-time weapon in his game.
Murray – He has improved this part of his game and is winning a lot of free points from either a few aces or jumping on a defensive return. Also, he has added a heavier kick to the backhand side.
Federer – His volley is very basic, but well placed. He is very comfortable attacking the net and because of this, he knows he is coming before he hits the ball which gives him a location to hit his first volley much closer to the net. He also has very soft hands, allowing him to hit deep volleys.
Murray – A much improved part of his game. His volleys are simple as he uses the power of his opponent’s ball and he directs it to the right position or location on the court.
Both players will sneak in to volley, which often make the opponent overhit or panic.
Return of Serve
Federer – He stands very close to the baseline, comes forward a step or two, takes a split step, has a short-compact swing and this gives him a very aggressive return of serve (especially from the forehand side). He is a wee bit more vulnerable from the backhand side when served a ball that jams him or a high kicker.
Murray – He ranks as one of the very best returners in the history of the game. He will attack any defensive sitter and also be able to hit back against a big server because of a strong low foundation, a semi-open stance and almost no backswing.
What can I say?
- They are both quick.
- They are both fast.
- Their recover is off the wall.
- They anticipate and react at the very same time.
But, Murray can pull of a much more aggressive shot when running to his backhand side versus a slice from Federer.
Federer – On the forehand side, his balls are more offensive with little spin. He moves the ball around and has depth at the same time. He doesn’t go for quick winners, but controls play by moving you around at all times. Once you give him a defensive ball he will use his footwork and move to his forehand side.
Murray – Murry will play offense in a little different way. His balls from both sides are rather high with medium pace, but hit very deep. Watch out, he will then come forward and unleash a very aggressive forehand or a two-handed backhand down the line. He will also play offensive by hitting out wide between the baseline and service line, jerking his opponent deep and then out wide.
I could go on forever on both players, but let’s condense it. To be a true champion like Federer, you must be able to do everything. The majority of tennis players actually think defense means pushing the ball, but this isn’t true. Defense to Roger and Andy means maintaining control of the court with a variation or a combination of shots.
Federer – He is one of the very best because he knows who he is, he does what he can control and he listens to advice but when it comes down to the end he is the captain of the ship. He is very clever in interviews, coming across in a manner that is very respectful to his opponents and the game while getting in a few jabs and hooks without you knowing it. He also shows little emotion on court, but at times will let it out visibly showing he is a human. Lastly, he is so confident that when the almost impossible has to be done, he will do it.
Murray – He has made leaps and bounds in this department and this didn’t come by accident. He carefully selected a team that he felt comfortable with and would also listen to and take their advice.
Federer – He gets an A+ in this department! What’s interesting to note is how smooth he is in everything he does. He never wastes an ounce of energy!
Murray – He has worked his butt off to be where he is today. What most fans and players do not see is his ability to be stretched out wide and recover from one side of the court to the other. He has done this by spending grueling hours in the gym building up lower body strength. Be sure you observe the use of his legs and the push up to the ball when serving. He is able to split step and then make that last movement to the ball for his volleys.
Nick’s Pick – I’ve broken it all down and I think this is going to be a great match. I have to give a slight edge to Federer, but if this match goes five, watch out! Federer in 4 sets