Unfazed by the weight of history against him, Andy Murray is vowing to bring the sustained levels of physical and mental intensity necessary to conquer grand slam colossus Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.
Murray is drawing inspiration from giantkilling Swiss Stan Wawrinka as he strives to become the first man to win the Open after losing four finals in Melbourne.
The stoic Scot also insists his sapping five-set semi-final victory over Milos Raonic will be no excuse for being unable to reverse a run of 10 defeats in his past 11 encounters with the world No.1.
“It’s doable,” said Murray as he attempts to deny Djokovic an unprecedented sixth men’s crown on Sunday night in what will be the fourth blockbuster final between the world’s top two players.
Djokovic, the reigning Australian, Wimbledon and US Open champion, warned he was “in the peak of my career” after his scintillating semi-final win over Roger Federer.
The Serb has won 34 of his past 35 grand slam matches and is a raging favourite to join legends Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg on the all-time grand slam leaderboard with an 11th major title.
Murray, though, believes there’s no reason why he can’t produce a boilover at Rod Laver Arena.
While others might view his non-from-four in Melbourne Park finals as a millstone, Murray sees it as an accomplishment.
“Five finals is a great achievement. You can’t take that away from me,” he said after battling back from two sets to one down to outlast Raonic 4-6 7-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 in the second semi-final, 24 hours after Djokovic ousted Federer 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3.
“There’s very few players that will have made five Australian Open finals, so I have to be proud.”
Indeed, only three other men have made five Australian Open finals; Stefan Edberg, Federer, Djokovic, who’s unbeaten in his.
But no one has lost the final of the same slam on four occasions to triumph at the fifth time of asking.
Murray pointed to Wawrinka’s breakthrough at Melbourne Park in 2014 as proof it can be done.
Wawrinka ended Djokovic’s title defence in the quarter-finals on the back of 14 straight losses to the Serb.
In the final, he confronted Rafael Nadal with a none-from-12 record but brought down the Spaniard to capture the title – and then back up to conquer Djokovic again in last year’s French Open decider.
“The previous disappointments, it’s one tennis match. Doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past really. It’s about what happens on Sunday,” Murray said.
“People like to read into what’s happened in the past, but Stan beat Rafa in the final here.
“I don’t think he’d ever won against him in like 13 attempts. When he beat Novak here, the same thing as well.
“There’s no reason it’s not possible for me to win.”
Murray, who beat Djokovic in finals at the 2012 US Open and Wimbledon in 2013 to snare his only two grand slam titles, has already created history at Melbourne Park, in tandem with his brother Jamie.
The pair are the first brothers in the 48-year professional era to qualify for a singles and doubles final at the same slam.