Andy Murray doesn't have to prove he's among the best players in the world anymore. He did that with a win at the 2012 U.S. Open and by capturing a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
Winning the 2013 Australian Open would possibly make him the game's top player.
He's had a few losses between now and his gold-medal performance in London, but he's come up money in the biggest tournaments. That's what makes this stage of his career impressive.
Before capturing the title at the U.S. Open, Murray had lost his previous four trips to a Grand Slam final. It's hard not to understand how one can get saddled with the "choker" moniker after failing so often in the biggest matches (ESPN).
When you arrive at the cusp of a championship that often without coming through, harsh criticism is inevitable.
Murray had become the Buffalo Bills of the men's tennis world. But the 25-year-old British star shook that label with his triumph in New York, and further validated his status at the Olympics.
He has followed those victories with yet another appearance in a Grand Slam final. This could very well be a signal that Murray is ready to go on a Djokovic-like run in the sport.
In 2011, Djokovic was nearly unbeatable.
He won 10 tournaments including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. It was during this time he staked claim to being the world's best player. If Murray defeats him on Sunday, we could be looking at a repeat of history.
At 23 years old, Djokovic was a little younger when he began dominating, but Murray still has several strong years ahead of him.
With Federer passed his prime and Rafael Nadal battling injuries, the Australian Open final is featuring two players that will be the class of men's tennis for the next five years.
Djokovic currently holds a 10-7 edge over Murray in the career series, but Murray did win their last meeting in a Grand Slam.
This is a difficult match to predict, but I'm going with the hot hand. Murray is playing so well, and his confidence has to be at an all-time high.
He'll claim his second consecutive Grand Slam title.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!