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Australian Open Diary: Murray Reveals Dream 5-A-Side Team

Melbourne, Australia

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray practised under the lights on Hisense Arena following his quarter-final win.

ATPWorldTour.com takes a look at the news and talking points at the Australian Open on the second Wednesday.

Murray Reveals Dream 5-A-Side Team
Writing in his column for The Australian newspaper, Andy Murray revealed which players would join him in his dream five-a-side football team.

“Rafa in the midfield. Jo-Wilfried up front. Kei Nishikori flying down the right wing. David Ferrer getting up and down the pitch. And Serena as the ultimate substitute. That’d be my five-a-side dream football team!” wrote the Scot.

“Rafa is an obvious choice, he’s a big Real Madrid fan. One of his uncles was a famous player in Spain and it is pretty clear Rafa would have been good as well had he chosen football instead of tennis, it might have made it a bit easier for a few of us to win a few more Grand Slams too! 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is not bad either. You can imagine he would be pretty hard to man up on, he’s so tall and powerful. Nishikori is a surprisingly good player and unsurprisingly Ferrer has a really good engine and that is important in five-a-side football. He would definitely work hard for the team.”

Federer Backs Nadal To Return Strongly
Twelve months ago Roger Federer was about to contest a gripping semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, and the Swiss is backing his Spanish rival to come back strongly next month in the Latin America Golden Swing.

“I remember our great semi-finals we had here last year,” said Federer. “This is maybe the moment where you do miss him a little bit to a degree. So it's a pity. The game's obviously stronger with him than without.  

“But my feeling tells me when he is back, he will be strong and he will be very difficult to beat. Obviously on the clay he hardly loses any matches. We're looking forward to that moment. It's going to be good energy for the tour.”

Federer Happy To Work The Night Shift
All but one of Federer’s matches at this year’s Australian Open have been played under the lights on Rod Laver Arena, but the Swiss revealed he has adjusted well to working the night shift at Melbourne Park. The only exception was his first-round win over Benoit Paire played on the first Tuesday afternoon.

“I've skipped breakfast for two weeks now. Seriously, that's what it's been. I've been going to bed at 3 a.m. every morning and wake up at noon. Going to bed at 3:00 in the morning and getting up at noon is not what you're supposed to be doing. But I'm happy to do it. 

“For me, nothing changes now because my next match, again, is going to be at night. I'm in a perfect schedule here basically. Might be 3:40, 4 a.m. I might sleep till 1 p.m. I'll handle it. I'll try to sleep in, do some stretching, massage, and then come out again and play well hopefully.”

In contrast, third seed Murray is yet to play a night session at this year’s Australian Open and revealed he would practise Wednesday and Thursday evenings on Hisense Arena in preparation for his Friday night showdown with Federer. 

“It's purely for the lights,” said Murray. “I played in Brisbane a couple of matches in the evening, but it's slightly different there, as well, because there's a roof too. That's why I'll go out there. I'll hit under the lights tonight and do the same tomorrow.”

Ferrer Visits New National Tennis Centre
David Ferrer visited the newly opened, impressive National Tennis Centre at Melbourne Park on Wednesday as he relaxed before Thursday night's Australian Open semi-final against two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic

“They have done an amazing job at the Australian Open. It is the best Grand Slam for me and I think for many players,” said Ferrer.

Federer Serving Streak Ends
Going into his quarter-final match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Federer had won 57 successive service games and saved all four break points he’d faced. His unbroken streak lasted until 3-2 in the first set, when Tsonga broke through to level at 3-3, having fallen behind 3-1. In the match, Federer would be broken on five occasions in total in his five-set win.

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