Can Andy Murray Beat Roger Federer When It Counts?

Jeff CohnCorrespondent IIIJanuary 1, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03:  (L-R) Andy Murray of Great Britain and Roger Federer of Switzerland talk to the guests during previews for the ATP World Tour Finals Tennis on November 3, 2012 in London, England. The world's top eight tennis players arrive at the Royal Court's of Justice for the official Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Gala, hosted by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, and generously supported by Moet & Chandon.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

There is no question that Andy Murray can beat Roger Federer. In fact, he has a leading head-to-head record against the world's No. 2 superstar.

But he trails 0-3 in Majors and only took one set off of the Swiss man in those meetings.

If there is one event where he dominated his opponent and did so at an important stage, it would be the 2012 Olympics where he safely took out the weary man on the other side of the net. He also beat Novak Djokovic in the medal playoff round, which helped add to the magnitude of his gold medal.

Why hasn't he been able to earn a Major against Federer when it truly matters?

Why hasn't he been able to make those matches competitive (though this past year's Wimbledon could count for that category)?

His nerves haven't been the problem, and the same goes for his aggressiveness and/or strategy. It seems that he truly thrives in a two-out-of-three set fashion and needs to get off to a quick start in big matches.

One would never want to be down a set to another member of the Big Four given their records as front-runners, but Murray has a tendency to come back from deficits, and clearly the one time he cannot do this is in Major finals.

In the three matches (in order) he played against Federer, the Scot lost the opening set 6-2 (US Open), was broken in his opening service game (Australian Open) and broke his opponent in the opening game only to hand the break right back (Wimbledon).

The problem with Murray's slow starts is that Federer may very well be the fastest and best starter in the game. He also deals with championship matches fairly well and has certainly been there more than the Scot has.

It seems as though the age difference between the two and the fact that an unpredictability factor is ensured as time goes on will see Murray take out his rival in one of these finals. It doesn't seem like he is close, though the Wimbledon start was incredibly solid.

For a player who has a winning head-to-head against the Maestro, it must be a type of mental fatigue that prevents him from doing any damage in a crucial stage. He has now won a Major and though that may not make a difference in his mind, several onlookers will be sure to point at that aspect if and when he does beat the Swiss player in a prestigious tournament.

Follow B/R Featured Columnist and Tennis Community Leader, Jeff Cohn, on Twitter for upcoming reports on the 2013 Australian Open (which happens to be his expertise).