Pressure all on Murray, says Federer

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By Julian Linden

Murray is brimming with confidence, saying he has the game to take down the world number one because he has done it six times before.

Federer believes Murray could get stage-fright because he has never beaten him in a grand slam and has the added pressure of trying to provide Britain with their first male champion at a grand slam in 74 years.

The verbal volleying has begun.

"I know he'd like to win the first for British tennis in, what is it, like 150,000 years?" Federer said.

"I think he really needs it more than I do, so I think the pressure's big on him. But we'll see how he's going to handle it. It's not going to be easy for him, that's for sure."

Federer is the undisputed master of the big occasion.

The 28-year-old has already played in 21 grand slam finals, winning 15. He has won the Australian Open three times and finished runner-up once, losing an epic five-set tussle with Rafa Nadal.

Murray has played in just one grand slam final, the 2008 U.S. Open, which he lost to Federer.

The Swiss believes that could still be playing on Murray's mind.

"Now that he didn't win the first one, I think it doesn't help for the second one around," Federer said.

"Plus he's playing me, who's won many grand slams prior to that, been able to win here three times, so I know what it takes and how to do it, which is definitely an advantage."


Murray, 22, admitted he was stricken by nerves in his first grand slam appearance but is more experienced now and will handle his second final much better.

"I was obviously nervous, as everyone is going to be," he said. "I'd had a tough run through to the final.

"It just all came around so quick, I didn't have that much time to prepare myself for it whereas this time's obviously going to be different.

"Hopefully I'll play better. I'm sure I will."

Murray could hardly have asked for a better route to Sunday's championship decider at Melbourne Park. He has dropped only one set in the tournament, in his semi-final against Marin Cilic, and has been in devastating form.

His victory over Nadal in the quarter-finals was breathtaking and he pulled off two magical shots against Cilic that were among the best ever seen on a tennis court.

Federer made a slow start to the championship, struggling to beat first round opponent Igor Andreev but has been steadily improving with each match.

He survived a tough quarter-final against Nikolay Davydenko then was in brilliant form in his semi-final demolition of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and looks to be peaking at the right time.

"Roger's record in slams speaks for itself," said Murray.

"If I'm going to play against him, it will take a special performance to win against him but I feel like I can do that.

"Physically I'm going to be a lot fresher and just play better.

"I have a game that can cause Roger problems. I just need to play my best tennis for five sets to beat him."

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)