London, Nov 23 (DPA) A cautious Roger Federer is determined to improve a modest 3-6 career record against high-flying Scot Andy Murray when the pair play in Group A Tuesday at the ATP World Tour Finals.
Murray, who once briefly stood second this season behind the pacesetting Swiss, has slipped to fourth, trailing Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serb Novak Djokovic.
All are in the mix at the week’s season wrap-up for the best eight players in the world this season.
Murray and Federer booked their round-robin date at the weekend with opening-day wins, the Swiss overcoming Spain’s Fernando Verdasco and Murray beating US Open winner Juan Del Potro of Argentina.
While Federer’s game has frequently been off the boil in his clashes with the Scot, the world number one is planning to change that scenario.
As one of the few men who has a winning record against the 15-time Grand Slam winner, Murray naturally gets the Swiss player’s attention every time they meet.
“Obviously I expect a difficult match,” said Federer, winner of four of the last six year-end editions in venues including Houston and Shanghai, the popular spot for the last four editions of the season wrap-up.
“It’s always fun playing against your fellow rivals. Andy has been one of the guys I played the most. I played him frequently at the beginning of the season, in Doha (January) and in Shanghai (at the season-ender of 2008).”
The Swiss earned the last of his victories against Murray in the Cincinnati semi-finals last summer.
But it is the defeat a year ago in China which most affected Federer, 28-5 in season-ending play.
“I remember I was not going into the match with, let’s say, the highest of hopes. I knew I had a little bit left in the tank because I was sick two days before.
“I was injured two, three weeks before for the entire time. So I kind of just said to myself, You know what, I’ll play aggressive and see what happens.
“I was playing incredible for a set, I almost got a victory. But I thought it was a very exciting match to be a part of.”
Federer added: “It was unfortunate for me not to come through. But I still think the match was great. I hope we can live up to the expectations and play another good one.”
Monday’s programme will be a huge psychological test for second seed Nadal as the Spaniard takes on the only man to have ever beaten him at Roland Garros, Sweden’s Robin Soderling.
Form player Novak Djokovic of Serbia, winner of three titles in six weeks, plays Russian Nikolay Davydenko as the last of the eight elite take to the court.