Roger Federer insists that his 100 per cent record against Andy Murray in Grand Slam tournaments will be of no significance when they meet here tomorrow in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
Although Murray has won 10 of their 19 meetings in all competitions, the Scot has lost all three of their matches at Grand Slam level, winning only one set in the process.
“It's true, but I don't go into it with a mindset that I've never lost to him in Slams,” Federer said when a reporter asked him about their head-to-head record. “He's beaten me so many times.”
Federer said he had never considered his overall record against Murray in Grand Slam tournaments, but added with a smile: “I'm happy you've given me the positive news. Good vibe. I'll try to remember that when I walk out - but it doesn't play a huge role for me.”
Gilles Simon is the only other player Murray has beaten as many times as he has Federer. However, in Grand Slam play Murray has lost to the world No 2 in the finals at the US Open (2008), Australian Open (2010) and Wimbledon (2012).
Since last year’s Wimbledon final, when Murray at last won a set against Federer in a Grand Slam tournament, they have met three times. Murray won in the Olympic final and in the Shanghai semi-finals, while Federer came out on top in the semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Murray’s counter-attacking style has paid rich dividends against Federer in the past, but the Swiss pointed out that his opponent tomorrow is a different player these days.
“He's playing more offensive - the rallies aren't as long and gruelling as they used to be,” Federer said. “But I always enjoyed the match-ups with him because it gets to be very tactical and not a straightforward match. He would make you doubt and play very differently to the rest of the guys.”
While Federer has had a tricky route to the semi-finals, having had to overcome Bernard Tomic, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the only top 30 player Murray has had to beat was Simon, who was in poor shape physically after a marathon match in the previous round.
Murray was the only player to reach the last four without dropping a set but is not concerned that he has not been stretched yet. “I think you have to trust yourself that when you are tested you're going to play better tennis,” he said. “I've done a good job so far in this tournament. I can't be disappointed with where my game's at.”
As for Federer’s tournament so far, Murray admitted: “He’s played some tough players and a variety of different styles, so I'd say he's been tested pretty well.”
Both semi-finals – Novak Djokovic was meeting David Ferrer in the first of them tonight - and Sunday’s final will be played in the evening in Rod Laver Arena. While Federer has played his last four matches at night, when conditions can be very different, all of Murray’s matches this year have been played in the heat of the day. Murray practised last night under lights in Hisense Arena, the second of the show courts, and was planning to do so again tonight.
Murray has no complaints about the scheduling. “It's tough to make the schedule perfect for every single player,” he said. “Sometimes it works in your favour and sometimes it doesn't.”