Andy Murray insisted that he is no longer a big-match bottler as he prepares his bruised body for his third Grand Slam final in a row. The Scot melted in the spotlight earlier in his career and lost his first four Major finals. But since his emotional defeat at Wimbledon last July, the world No.3 has won the Olympics and US Open and has now become the first Briton to reach three Australian Open finals.
Tennis Grand Slam
Australian Open Tennis 2013
Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray
Date: January 27, 2013
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Two of the youngest and brightest stars will square off in a Grand Slam final for the third, but doubtfully the last, time. These two sensational players could spur the sport's next big rivalry.
There weren't exactly any major shocks along the way leading up to an anticipated showdown between Djokovic and Murray, especially with Rafael Nadal out of commission.
Stanislas Wawrinka gave Djokovic a run for his money, but eventually succumbed to the world's No. 1 player in five grueling sets.
For Murray, there was the obstacle of topping Roger Federer in the semifinals. That bout also lasted five sets before the 25-year-old eventually emerged victorious.
But it might have looked closer than it actually was. Federer squeaked out his two winning sets while Murray won his in more convincing fashion. Federer fought valiantly, but could not keep up with his younger adversary.
After years of falling short against Federer, Murray has finally gained the upper hand in the feud. They have met in three prior Grand Slam finals, with the veteran capturing all three first-place finishes. Always near the top, Murray could not take that extra step to join Federer, Djokovic and Nadal among the elite.
Murray launched the monkey off his back in his home nation by topping Federer at the 2012 Olympics. Now he has further cemented his place among the best by outlasting the Swiss star again.
While Federer is still a premier athlete, he's lost just enough pep in his step at age 31 to trail behind the younger Murray, who now thoroughly belongs in the upper-echelon of the sport's foursome of superstars.
Djokovic has dominated the sport as of late, winning three Grand Slams in 2011 and the past two Australian Opens. The 25-year-old from Serbia is just hitting his stride and should be a mainstay at the sport's pinnacle for years.
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