History man Djokovic expects Melbourne dogfight with Murray

Sat Jan 30, 2016 3:13am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic is expecting a fierce battle with an old friend and familiar protagonist when he makes a bid for history in the Australian Open final against Andy Murray on Sunday.

Born a week apart 28 years ago, Djokovic and Murray have contested three previous finals at the Melbourne Park with the Serbian emerging triumphant on each occasion.

The world number one is a strong favorite to prevail once again on Sunday and equal Roy Emerson's record of six Australian Open titles.

"I'm expecting a battle with Andy, as it always is," he said.

"Very physically demanding match. Lots of rallies, exchanges. It's no secret we know how we play against each other.

"It's two games that are very much alike, so it's basically who's going to outplay who from the baseline."

Djokovic said he thought how both players' serve held up would be an important factor but so would be how they handled the "emotions of the greatness of that occasion of playing for the grand slam title".

That has been an area of clear advantage for the Serbian in their three previous meetings in Australian Open finals and he has also had a hex over Murray in 10 of their last 11 meetings.   Continued...

Serbia's Novak Djokovic gestures during a practice session on the eve of his final match against Britain's Andy Murray, at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Brandon Malone