Down Under Diary, Day 12
by Kate Flory|
Djokovic, Murray Go Head To Head
HEAD, an official partner of the ATP, is understandably happy to see Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray squaring off in the Australian Open final. Sunday’s showdown will be the first men’s Grand Slam final in which both players wield HEAD racquets since Andre Agassi took out Rainer Schuettler in the 2003 Aussie Open final. Djokovic only began using his new HEAD YouTek™ IG Speed MP racquet this month. Murray has been using his HEAD YouTek™ Radical Pro since late 2009.
To celebrate the Djokovic-Murray final, HEAD will give away five racquets signed by the eventual champion. For your chance to win, make your Australian Open final prediction at www.facebook.com/headtennis. Also, check out the HEAD player portrait interviews with both finalists on www.youtube.com/headtennis.
Henman: Murray Needs To Deliver
Former British No. 1 and six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Tim Henman believes Murray must deliver on the big points, like he did against David Ferrer, if he is to succeed in the final against Djokovic.
Speaking on BBC2, Henman said, “It's about who's going to deliver on the day and who can create the opportunities and win the big points, as Murray was able to do against Ferrer. Physically, sometimes when you're watching Murray's body language and his hobbling around the court, it doesn't always look so promising.
“But underneath all of that there lies a phenomenal athlete and he's in great shape. If he wasn't in that shape, he wouldn't have come through that war against Ferrer. The adrenaline of a Grand Slam final will keep him going and he'll be absolutely fine.
“Djokovic looked good in his semi-final against Roger Federer. He will take huge confidence from that win and he will have to recuperate. He'll be raring to go as he aims for his second Grand Slam title, while Murray goes for his first.”
Bryans Have No Plans To Stop
World No. 1 doubles duo Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will bid for their 10th Grand Slam title in Saturday’s Australian Open final, but the 32-year-old Americans say they have no immediate plans to hang up their racquets.
"There's no exit strategy yet," said Bob to Richard Evans, writing for Fox Sports. “People think this is a tough lifestyle until they quit. It's tough to leave when you're winning and you have an awful long time to think about it once you're done. Look at the guys playing on the Seniors tour. They can't stay away. And Thomas Muster has come back to the main tour and he's 43!"
Mike added, "We'll definitely be playing until we're 35, probably 40. We'll probably go on until there is no air left in the chest bumps."
Australian John Newcombe, who won five Wimbledon doubles titles with countryman Tony Roche, has also offered his thoughts on one of the greatest-ever doubles teams. “I love their attitude and the way they charge the net all the time. There are far too many players today who are afraid to volley.
“But it is almost impossible to make comparisons. In our era, all the top singles players played doubles. But it was a different game then and all Mike and Bob can do is beat the team they find across the net. They have been pretty good at doing that."
Indians Rooting For Bhupath-Paes
Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes will be bidding to complete the career Grand Slam when they step on to court to face the Bryans in the Australian Open doubles final on Saturday.
Both players have won three of the four majors, but have twice come short of winning the Australian Open title. They were runners-up together in 1999, and Paes also reached the final in 2006 with Martin Damm and Bhupathi in 2009 with Mark Knowles.
‘The Indian Express’ has been receiving plenty of support from fans on Facebook, including this post from Arulmurugan Ramkumar: “C'mon sink all your difference and jell like a husband to a newly married wife, Cling On, Stay on for enough you guys have the game and the final change for making it to a slam, do it for India and for the generations of us who have taken love for the game based on one superlative performance, Hope the Duo Delivers when it matters!! All the best wishes are with you gUYS, hAPPY HUNTING THE AUSSIEE”
We Saw... WTA World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in Murray’s Player Box during the Scot’s semi-final clash with Ferrer on Friday evening. The Dane’s hitting partner, Mats Merkel, had warmed Murray up for the match. The day before, Ana Ivanovic cheered for fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic in his semi-final win over Roger Federer.
P..P..P..P..Pick Up A Penguin
Jamie Murray has posted an interesting competition for his fans on Twitter and Facebook. The Scottish doubles specialist tweeted: “Came bk from Melb Aquarium with a penguin impression @andy_murray says his is better, u tell me. If u think urs is better post a video to my twitter or my facebook and win an AO player shirt signed by @andy_murray and me..Closes 4th feb"
Check out the hilarious video of Team Murray’s penguin impressions here and send in your entry!
Ferdinand, Pique Resume Banter
In yesterday’s Down Under Diary we reported on the friendly banter exchanged between international footballers Rio Ferdinand and Gerard Pique as both players backed their countrymen to come out on top in the semi-final clash between Murray and Ferrer.
And it was Manchester United defender Ferdinand who was the happier of the two on Friday as Murray prevailed in four tight sets, tweeting to his former United teammate Pique, “@3gerardpique where are you bro?! You must be on the phone sorting a flight out for Ferrer to go back to Spain! Well done @andy_murray !!”
Pique’s assessment of the match was, “The set point that Ferrer had in the second set was the key to the match. If he had won that tie-break the match would have been his... Well done Ferru!”