For two men who have accomplished so much in their closely intertwined careers, the Australian Open final between friends Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray on Sunday could achieve a number of firsts.
Should Djokovic beat Murray he will become the first man in the Open era to win five titles in Melbourne and be one away from Roy Emerson’s record of six, won before the game went professional in 1968.
Victory will also allow him to reclaim his mantle as the king of Melbourne Park, having reached the final in four of the past five years.
“Getting to the finals is already a great achievement … but now this is the match for which you have worked for now two months,” Djokovic said after he beat last year’s champion Stan Wawrinka in the semi-final. “This is where you want to be.
“This is why you put all these hours on and off the court, trying to get yourself in a position to win grand slam trophy, because that’s what matters the most.”
Djokovic is bidding for his eighth grand slam title and has a superior 15-8 career record over Murray.
He has also won seven of the last eight matches, while in his run of three successive Melbourne Park titles, he beat Murray twice, in 2011 and 2013.