There is no doubt that the men's final of the Australian Open will be an exciting match. Picking a winner is up for debate and there is a surprising swell of belief that Andy Murray will win his first major and defeat Roger Federer.
Both players are playing at a high level, and barring any injury in the final by either man, there should be no excuse physically for the loser of the match.
In order to win the first major of his career, Murray needs to do more than be physically better than Federer. Everyone agrees that he has all the tools needed to win, but if he is to win, he'll need to show the heart and desire to win a major championship.
He showed these qualities earlier in the tournament in defeating Rafael Nadal. Although Nadal eventually was forced to retire, Murray showed the mental toughness to pull through in key moments of that match that he lacked in the 2008 US Open final or the 2009 Wimbledon semi-final. Overcoming adversity early in a tournament and beating the best player of all-time in a major final are feats in two different galaxies.
For as great as Roger Federer has been, many people seem to be anticipating his eventual downfall. It's a sad state of mind that people want to see him begin his decline. Unlike some athletes or teams in sport, Federer has never been anything short of a shining light of excellence in his sport, both on and off the court. Everyone should be rooting for his greatness to remain for as long as possible.
The final of this tournament only one year ago seemed to be the beginning of the end for Federer when he was beaten by longtime foe Nadal. Most felt Nadal was now superior to Federer on all surfaces and the Fed Express was now coming derailed.
That was proven to be the furthest thing from the truth after he was able to win two of the next three Grand Slam tournaments, reaching the finals in all three. Shame on all of us for thinking that his time had past.
Like Murray, Federer possesses incredible physical tools on the tennis court. Perhaps his greatest attribute is his will to be the very best. It's that will that allows him to be compared to the best ever in tennis as well as the best ever in every other sport.
People will tune in tonight not knowing quite what to anticipate. Will this really be the beginning of the end for Federer and the start of Murray's rise? Or will it turn out to be what we've all seen so many times: another display of tennis mastery showing why Federer is the best ever.
Eventually, Andy Murray will win a grand slam title and take his place as a great in the game. Personally, I just don't see it happening against Roger Federer tonight. I've seen Federer doubted too many times in the past only to prove everyone wrong.
I'll take Federer in a repeat five set classic similar to last year's Aussie Open final, but Federer won't be stopped this time and he'll add grand slam title number 16 to his collection.
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