Murray Favored by Bookies, Federer Scoffs
After learning that the 21-year old from Dunblane, Scotland was listed as the bookies’ pick to win the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, Federer reportedly let out an incredulous snort, clearly expressing his opinion, which he finally verbalized at a press conference for the Kooyong exhibition tournament held recently.
“Who said that? The bookies? Good for him,” Federrer quipped and quickly added, “It doesn’t help him a whole lot. I’ve been in that position before as well and didn’t make it.”
It could be that Federer was simply miffed that bookies finally made the move and choose somebody else to root for to win the Australian open title, which in the past was given to him. Or it could be that he was just licking his wounded chops after Murray defeated him at the semi finals in Doha, Qatar, this after Rafael Nadal ended his 5–year reign in Wimbledon and took his spot as the next world number 1. Or, it could be because Federer did not win the last season’s Australian Open title. The title went to Novak Djokovic who beat Federer in the finals, making it the only one out of the last 15 Grand Slams not taken by either Federer or Nadal.
Murray may have a slim chance at winning the title. He is, to his credit, the currently the world number 4, and his odds for a shot at the title rose sharply after he defeated Federer in their matches in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. However, most tennis pros think that a great leap to a Grand slam title from a world ranking is exactly that, a great leap.
Federer went on to say, “He’s put himself in a great position. He started off well, going well in Doha. He finished strong last year. It still does surprise me that the bookies say that. He’s never won a Slam.”
Murray, for his part, lasted until the QF in Wimbledon. He bagged five ATP titles in 2008, running behind Nadal’s eight and currently scores 5-2 against Federer. He is confident that he can take on Federer, saying in a statement, “The more you play against him the less fearful you are, you’re not scared to win the match,” he said. “Now when I play him I don’t get nervous and if I play my best tennis I can beat him.”
Federer admitted that he was out of form the past season after a bout of mononucleosis just before the start of the season’s first Grand Slam. The Swiss pro started the 2008 season with 12 Grand Slam titles but ended up bagging only one for the whole year, finishing a spot behind Nadal after his 237- week streak as world number 1 finally came to an end. Federer also lost last year’s French Open and Wimbledon titles to Nadal, but was able to hold on to his US Open title by beating Murray in the final. He is back this year, though, and is slated to play his first match against Carlos Moya of Spain on Wednesday.
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