Novak Djokovic: Rest Is Biggest Advantage Djoker Has over Andy Murray in Final

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IJanuary 26, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning his Semifinal match against David Ferrer of Spain during day eleven of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney-Pool/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic is already one of the greatest hard-court players on the planet, but rest might be the biggest advantage Djoker has over Andy Murray going into the Australian Open final.

After a less than stellar start to the Aussie Open, Djokovic is beginning to round into form as the tournament comes to a close.

In his last match against David Ferrer, Djoker didn't need to exert much energy to beat the Spaniard and did so in straight sets (6-2, 6-2, 6-1). Before that, Djokovic disposed of Tomas Berdych in four sets (6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4).

Because of those two relatively easy wins and an extra day off, Djokovic will come into the final well rested and ready for what figures to be his toughest test of the tournament thus far.

Murray won't be so lucky thanks to a tough semifinal matchup with Roger Federer.

While Murray did go on to beat Federer, it took him five sets and four hours to do so in what was an exhausting match that even Murray himself admitted took a lot out of him, per Kevin Mitchell of The Guardian:

"It was a long, long match," Murray said. "It's a very late finish. I'm tired. I don't want to be wasting any energy, because I'll need all of it if I want to win against Novak on Sunday."

As I mentioned before, Djoker is one of the best on the hard court, but that hasn't been evident in his previous battles with Murray on the surface.

In 13 career matches between the two on this surface, Djoker has a slight edge over Murray, 7-6. Murray also got the better of Djokovic in the U.S. Open final last year—the pair's last meeting on a hard court in a Grand Slam tournament.

So, there is no real distinct advantage for Djokovic over Murray on a hard court.

With all things being equal there, Djokovic's edge in this match comes from his extra rest. It will be imperative for the world's No. 1 to make Murray work and force him to run all over the court as much as possible.

If he can do so, Djokovic should have no problem taking care of Murray en route to reclaiming the Australian Open crown.

At this point in each of their respective careers, this is about as even a matchup as you can get. The only real difference is that Djoker will have a fresher pair of legs, but that will make all the difference in the world.