General form at the start of 2013
Murray’s run to this final has been more impressive than that to the last US Open final. Although he had a tough match against Federer, he was purposeful throughout; one can’t complain about someone needing five sets to get past someone with Federer’s pedigree. In terms of calmness and focus on court he is looking more like the player who won the gold medal at the Olympics than he did in New York.
Djokovic too is in a better place mentally now than last September. After the French Open final to a degree he went awol, losing semis at both Wimbledon and the Olympics. It was only in the latter stages of the USO that that Djokovic began to re-emerge as the player of 2011-to-early-2012. The autumn saw him consolidate this, and by the YEC he was back to being dominant.
At Djokovic rose to pre-eminence during the autumn, Murray to a slight degree unravelled, but it seems that during the off-season he has regained his focus.
Conditions for this match
As Djokovic’s record here shows, this court is definitely one of his favourites, and there shouldnt be anything in the conditions to bother him. This is Murray’s third final here he too clearly likes it here. He is finding the court to be a touch faster this year and at the moment his winners are going through harder.
I think this match will be closer than people are predicting. The odds are favouring Djokovic roughly 2:1. I feel its more likely to be 5:4 to Djokovic. Thus, unless Murray comprehensively outplays Djokovic, a Murray win should not surprise us – nor should it be taken to mean anything dramatic: Murray edging out Djokovic is within the margin for error. Equally, assuming Murray plays roughly to same level that he did against Federer, his losing to Djokovic won’t mean anything: Djokovic is the dominant player at the moment, and his beating Murray in the close match we expect wouldn’t indicate that Murray has reverted to the player who lost his first nine sets in slam finals.
The most surprising result this match could throw up would be a straight sets victory.