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Author Archive for Kevin Mitchell in Melbourne

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‘SuperSwiss’ Roger Federer ready to unleash weapons on Australian Open | Kevin Mitchell

The reigning champion, a player who could probably save the planet if required, is looking relaxed and regal as he prepares to begin his title defenceIf Roger Federer were a superhero (to many, he already is), he would, he says, like to be Thor. At the…

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Johanna Konta determined to climb again after ‘hitting a wall’ last year

The world No9’s excellent season ground to a halt as she struggled with a foot injury but she is prepared for more Australian Open success in 2018Tennis is the pain game, as players keep saying, and Jo Konta admitted ahead of her first match in the 201…

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Novak Djokovic takes qualified risk before toughest Australian Open test yet

• Six-time Melbourne champion says suspect elbow getting better each day• Britain’s Kyle Edmund looks ahead to tough opener with Kevin AndersonNovak Djokovic handed out sugar-free sweets to the media again on Saturday, spreading love and good health in…

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Novak Djokovic takes qualified risk before toughest Australian Open test yet

• Six-time Melbourne champion says suspect elbow getting better each day• Britain’s Kyle Edmund looks ahead to tough opener with Kevin AndersonNovak Djokovic handed out sugar-free sweets to the media again on Saturday, spreading love and good health in…

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Australian Open players show nimble verbal skills on Margaret Court issue

Most equivocated when asked to comment on Billie Jean King’s call for the tournament’s second court – named after Court – to be boycotted or renamedThe Margaret Court conundrum remains the effluent in the room at this Australian Open, and it exercised …

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Johanna Konta can get to the top; she’s got pretty close already, says new coach

Michael Joyce is in no doubt the world No9 has what it takes to win a grand slam – starting at an Australian Open in which 20 players have a chance of the titleDavid Foster Wallace, one of the sport’s finest chroniclers, once described Johanna Konta’s …

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Novak Djokovic looks ready to rock but revamped service action is untested | Kevin Mitchell

World No14 has oozed contentment since arriving at an Australian Open nervously hoping Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal will also make the start lineThe first skirmishes of the season have been wreathed in angst and speculation and, three days before the…

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Andy Murray eager and ready to avenge near-misses at Australian Open

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have changed their games to reduce the strain but can still expect to beat the rest and meet each other in the final in Melbourne

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic can only play each other in the first major of the season in the final, which is a fortnight on Sunday. If it comes to pass, it must be like having a never‑ending appointment with a mad dentist armed with a rusty drill, given they have spent 20 hours and 41 minutes on court here in five brutal matches – nearly a day out of their lives.

As everyone is aware, Djokovic has prevailed each time, winning finals in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016. In 2012, he won a semi-final of awe-inspiring mutual pain in four hours and 50 minutes, prompting Murray – who had to rest for a day to recover – to express his gob-smacked admiration for his nemesis who, within two days, somehow found further reserves of energy to grind down Rafael Nadal in the final over five sets and five hours and 53 minutes, still the longest slam final.

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Andy Murray could meet Roger Federer in Australian Open quarter-final

  • World No 1 Murray on the same side of the draw as returning Swiss
  • Johanna Konta meets Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in first round
  • Dan Evans to play Fecundo Bagnis, ranked 55

Roger Federer, as eager as a yearling after six months off the tour recovering from knee surgery, will be the hunter rather than the hunted at the Australian Open, and could play world No 1 Andy Murray as early as the quarter-final of a tournament the 35-year-old Swiss has won four times in 17 visits.

Murray, five times a losing finalist in Melbourne, will play world No 93 Ilya Marchenko first up – having won their only encounter, here six years ago in the second round. Federer has one of eight qualifiers packed into that quarter of the draw, but thereafter will have to get past Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori to reach the first weekend.

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Andy Murray could meet Roger Federer in Australian Open quarter-final

  • World No 1 Murray on the same side of the draw as returning Swiss
  • Johanna Konta meets Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in first round
  • Dan Evans to play Fecundo Bagnis, ranked 55

Roger Federer, as eager as a yearling after six months off the tour recovering from knee surgery, will be the hunter rather than the hunted at the Australian Open, and could play world No 1 Andy Murray as early as the quarter-final of a tournament the 35-year-old Swiss has won four times in 17 visits.

Murray, five times a losing finalist in Melbourne, will play world No 93 Ilya Marchenko first up – having won their only encounter, here six years ago in the second round. Federer has one of eight qualifiers packed into that quarter of the draw, but thereafter will have to get past Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori to reach the first weekend.

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Angelique Kerber now aims to dislodge Serena Williams from World No1 spot

• Kerber says her dream was always to win a major and ‘my second was to be No1’
• Australian Open winner says Steffi Graf was a great inspiration to her

Gone midnight and Angelique Kerber was conducting yet another interview after the biggest win of her career. She looked and sounded like a champion and she revealed she now has one player firmly in her sights: Serena Williams.

Williams had long left Melbourne Park, a gracious loser of the Australian Open final in three high-quality sets when, for the second time in five months, she was tantalisingly in reach of drawing alongside Kerber’s compatriot and long-distance supporter, Steffi Graf, whose 22 majors in the open era are two short of Margaret Court’s record of 24.

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Andy Murray: I’ll be on next flight home after defeat to Novak Djokovic

• Murray pays tribute to pregnant wife Kim before rushing home to be with her
• Djokovic ‘honoured’ to equal Roy Emerson’s six Australian Open titles

Andy Murray rushed from the scene of his latest disappointment against the best player in the world, Novak Djokovic, here on Sunday night to be with his pregnant wife, Kim, in Surrey. After one of the shortest press conferences of his garlanded career, Murray went straight to the airport for the first available flight home and is due to arrive at Heathrow on Monday evening.

Related: Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray to win the 2016 Australian Open final

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Australian Open verdict: what must Andy Murray do to beat Novak Djokovic? | Kevin Mitchell

The world No1 was born exactly a week later than Murray in 1987 but he has pulled away over the past few years like a Ferrari lined up against a pram

Andy Murray has no doubt he is good enough to beat Novak Djokovic on the biggest stages in world tennis. He did it at Flushing Meadows and Wimbledon to win his two slam titles. He beat Roger Federer to win Olympic gold. He has more to be proud of than just about any British player in the history of tennis, yet he has quite a lot to think about.

In the wake of a fourth defeat by Djokovic in an Australian Open final – to go with one against Federer six years ago – Murray must confront the question that will not disappear: is he as good at tennis as the player he has known since childhood?

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Andy Murray desperate to break Novak Djokovic’s aura of invincibility in final | Kevin Mitchell

The Serb has displayed awesome form at the Australian Open but Britain’s world No2 will hope to exploit the slightest sign of vulnerability

Damon Runyon would have loved modern tennis, with all its seductive – some would say corrupting – betting options but, if he were allowed on the premises, even he would struggle to frame an attractive price for either combatant in the final of the 2016 Australian Open on Sunday.

For all that the old rascal reckoned “the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet”, there is not enough between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to suggest the Serb will enjoy an easy time of it on Rod Laver Arena, where he has beaten the Scot three times in finals.

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Angelique Kerber stuns Serena Williams to clinch Australian Open title

• German prevails 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in first appearance in grand slam final
• Williams denied a seventh Australian Open title and 22nd major win

Angelique Kerber, who had to save match point against the world No 64 Misaki Doi in her first contest of the 2016 Australian Open, finished the tournament in the most spectacular fashion by beating the incomparable Serena Williams in three wonderful sets here on Saturday night.

Kerber, seeded seventh, won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes in front of an incredulous audience on Rod Laver Arena. It was the American’s 26th appearance in a slam final, the German’s first.

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Andy Murray confident of beating Novak Djokovic to win Australian Open

• ‘I have a very good shot if I play my best tennis,’ says Murray
• Murray has lost to Djokovic in three Australian Open finals

Andy Murray has said he has “a very good shot” of beating Novak Djokovic at the fourth attempt in the Australian Open final on Sunday, “if I play my best tennis”.

After spending nearly four hours overcoming the 25-year-old Canadian power server Milos Raonic in five sets in the second semi-final here on Friday, the world No2 was left with less than 36 hours to prepare for his fifth attempt to win the Australian title, having also lost to Roger Federer in 2010.

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Andy Murray takes rational approach to facing the mighty Novak Djokovic

For the fourth time the Briton will face the world No1 in the Australian Open final and he is fully aware only his best will be good enough

If there is a tennis equivalent of hell, it surely is being dragged back to the scene of serial pain inflicted by a rival who is not only a week younger but roughly $50m richer, eight grand slam titles better off and regarded by every sane critic as the best player in the world now and for the foreseeable future.

None of that concerns Andy Murray as he contemplates his fourth Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic here on Sunday. Having gone winless against him in a combined total of just under 10 hours in 2011, 2013 and last year (as well as a first losing final here in 2010, against Roger Federer), Murray almost revels in it – just as he took satisfaction from the ordeal of his long, tough semi-final win over Milos Raonic on Friday.

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Andy Murray battles back to beat Milos Raonic in five-set Australian Open semi

• British No1 comes from two sets to one down to reach the final
• Novak Djokovic awaits after Murray’s 4-6, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 win

It has been a week of anguish and struggle like no other in Andy Murray’s life. But a tortuous, five-set victory over Milos Raonic here on Friday night that pitches him into a fifth Australian Open final will have seemed the most worthwhile of professional sacrifices.

He could so easily have gone home, to be alongside his father-in-law, Nigel Sears, whose collapse in the stands last weekend was seriously distressing for his brother, Jamie, mother, Judy – who were with Andy here – and his heavily pregnant wife, Kim, waiting at their home in Oxshott, Surrey. He had already pledged to leave Melbourne if their first child arrived early.

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Jamie Murray: British experience at Australian Open has been incredible

• Doubles finalist lauds Melbourne form of his brother Andy and Johanna Konta
• ‘Chemistry I have struck up with Bruno Soares bodes well for doubles final’

“It has been incredible,” Jamie Murray said of the British experience at the 2016 Australian Open – and, he might have added, it could become more incredible.

“Obviously, for Andy [his brother] to get into the semi-final, I guess people are used to that because that is what he has been doing for so many years,” Jamie said on the eve of his doubles final, his third in a row in slams, after losing at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows with the Australian John Peers.

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Johanna Konta: Australian Open run no guarantee of further success

• Konta will ‘continue working hard’ after semi-final loss to Angelique Kerber
• British No1 will rise to 28 in rankings and could be seeded for Wimbledon

Leaving the best party she has attended was, ultimately, not as tough for Johanna Konta as she or her quickly growing band of fans might have imagined.

Certainly, hitting 36 unforced errors in one hour and 22 minutes to give Angelique Kerber a 7-5, 6-2 victory in front of a near-full Rod Laver Arena overwhelmingly on her side was not the end to the Australian Open she had hoped for. Reaching the semi-finals on her main-draw debut, however, was an achievement that gave her comfort and encouragement.

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