You know what the safest bet in all of sports is? That a British male won’t win a Grand Slam singles title.
It hasn’t happened for 75 years – that’s 1936, to be exact – and even when they come close, British players run into circumstances that they can’t overcome. Like, for example, playing the World’s No. 1 player in the midst of his winning an all-time record Grand Slam titles.
All that may be changing this weekend.
Despite the nearly eight decades of history he has weighing down on his shoulder, Englishman Andy Murray may be the hottest male player in tennis right now. And, for once, he may have picked the right spot to sent history reeling.
Rather than face world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, or Roger Federer (he has, after all, already gone THAT route), Murray will face Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open men’s final.
He does, however, still have to make a believer out of some people. Djokovic is listed on the books as the favorite, opening up at -150. Murray is a good value at +120.
Murray defeated David Ferrer 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1, 7-6 (2) to get to the finals, where he will meet Djokovic, who holds a 4-3 career record against him. Murray, though, has won the last three matches against the 2008 Australian winner. That should give him a great mental boost as he prepares to take on the history books this weekend.
Djokovic didn’t just cruise into the final. He beat Roger Federer in the semifinal. Now he will contend with Murray, who is fond of long rallies which wear his opponent down and causes them to make mistakes. His semifinal featured those rallies, punctuated by booming forehands that just cleared the net.
If ever there was a player primed for a breakthrough, it is Murray in this tournament. A win would be the story of the early season, by far, and could propel him to great things the rest of the year.
But, you get the feeling, a loss could be devastating and ruin not only the season, but English hopes for a long time.
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