Murray relishing Federer showdown

“It will be an exciting match, a good one to be part of. I hope I can play well. We’ve had some very good matches over the years. I hope on Thursday it will be the same."

Murray relishing Federer showdown

Andy Murray is looking forward to pitting his wits against Roger Federer once again at the ATP World Tour Finals.

The pair will clash for a 23rd time in the final match of Group B at London’s O2 Arena on Thursday evening.

They are currently locked together at 11-11 but Federer has won all three previous meetings here, most recently in the semi-finals two years ago.

Federer has arguably been the player of the year despite not winning a grand slam title and has looked impressive so far, beating Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

Murray made a poor start to his campaign in losing to Nishikori but bounced back on Tuesday with a straight-sets victory over Raonic.

That kept alive his hopes of reaching the semi-finals, and the good news for the Scot is he will know what he needs to do before the start of his match.

Raonic and Nishikori meet in the afternoon and, should the Japanese player win, Murray would have to beat Federer in straight sets to stand a chance.

Victory for Raonic, on the other hand, would mean any win for Murray would be enough, while there is also a scenario where he could lose and go through.

Even Federer is not guaranteed a spot in the last four, although a set would be enough for the Swiss.

“It will be obviously a very difficult match,” said Murray.

“But it will be an exciting match, a good one to be part of. I hope I can play well. We’ve had some very good matches over the years. I hope on Thursday it will be the same.

“It’s nice to have won against him a number of times. It gives me good confidence and belief every time I go on the court against him.

“Hopefully I can get through the group and keep going. If not, playing against Roger is a good way for me to finish the year, as well.

“There’s a lot of positives for me going into the match. It’s nice to go into Thursday still with an opportunity to go through. I’m looking forward to it.”

Federer has never enjoyed facing Murray, while the challenge of neutralising the Swiss’ stylish game has always appealed to the Scot.

Theirs is a rivalry that dates back almost 10 years, with Murray recalling: “I played him in my first-ever final in Bangkok.

“It was a great experience then. Every time I’ve played against him, it’s a very good learning experience, matches I’ll look back on when I finish playing.

“They’re the matches that I really remember, playing against the top guys in the big events. It’s been a good, successful 10 years. I hope I can keep going for a few more.”

Murray has got a few monkeys off his back in recent months, beating a top-10 player for the first time since back surgery at the US Open, reaching a final and winning a tournament in Shenzhen and beating then world number five David Ferrer twice.

One thing Murray has not yet done in 2014 is beat one of the top three of Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Federer had his own struggles last season following back trouble and it was not until the end of the year that he began to regain his confidence after securing a couple of big wins.

“It doesn’t necessarily need to be one of the top guys,” he said. “It’s already helpful just beating any top-10 player, anybody who is around the top 10.

“I think for me it all started with the win over (Juan Martin) del Potro here last year and in Paris. I knew that was somewhat big for me. I beat (Richard) Gasquet, as well. It solidifies that you’re heading in the right direction.

“I think he had that with beating Ferrer twice, and (Marin) Cilic as well in Beijing, (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga at the US Open. Those are the matches he needed to win down the stretch at the end of the season, which he did. That’s why I’m sure his belief is higher now again.”

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