Murray hoping to overcome Melbourne demons


Novak Djokovic may be the clear favourite for the Australian Open, but the first grand slam of 2016 also provides an opportunity for Andy Murray to banish his Melbourne demons.

The slam that has provided the world number two with his greatest number of final appearances is also the one to have caused him the most pain.

Murray has finished as the runner-up at the Australian Open on four occasions in the last six years, a record of near-misses only surpassed by John Bromwich, who twice won the event as well as suffering five final defeats.

Defending champion Djokovic is likely to take some stopping this time around, given his five previous successes at the event and formidable form over the past 12 months.

Yet Murray will be buoyed by his achievements in 2015, highlighted by the leading role he played in securing Davis Cup glory for Great Britain.

In addition to that success, the Scot recorded 71 wins and claimed a career-high end-of-year ranking.

And as the second seed in Melbourne, he knows he can only face Djokovic in the final.

Murray has won only one of his last 11 meetings with the world's best player and it is Djokovic who has denied him in his last three Australian Open final appearances.

That catalogue of near-misses ensures Murray has Melbourne Park success at the top of his to-do list in 2016.

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, he said: "My number one goal is to win here, just because of the number of times I have been close.

"I have made four finals, one other semi-final, but I haven't managed to get over the final hurdle. 

"I hope, if I keep giving myself the opportunities, that I'll be able to. It would mean a lot."

While the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka will have other ideas, another Djokovic-Murray final on January 31 certainly appears likely.

Whether Murray can take the final step remains to be seen, but he will not be short of motivation.