Roger Federer Looks Different, Andy Murray Just the Same

Roger Federer won his second consecutive tournament against one of the two players still on the ATP tour with a winning record against him. Andy Murray got rid of the best player in the world on Friday, beating Novak Djokovic, but lost to the player in the best form, Federer, who needed two sets (7-5, 6-4) to handle Murray, claiming his fifth title in Dubai.

The win made it a 10 match winning streak for Federer, making it 7-8 between him and the top British player, with Murray usually dominating the non-Grand Slam meets between the two. Federer kept his cool throughout the match, carrying the same attitude that got him through a very tough semi final against Juan Martin Del Potro.

The mental toughness that’s been missing. The mental toughness that creates consistency. The mental toughness he’s been missing against Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, although against Nadal it’s also a matter of styles that simply elevated the Spaniard. Federer came back from 0-5 and 2-6 in the second tie break between the two. When you come out of that as a winner, a final against Murray seems like a breeze.

Murray looked a bit tired. Beating Djokovic, the first player to do so in 2012 probably took more out of him than initially thought, despite it being a two setter, 6-2, 7-5 win. Federer won all five matches in the Dubai Tennis championships without dropping a set, a streak that now extends to six matches, including his Rotterdam Final against Del Potro.

The future for Federer? He’s talked about it, more than once this season. He wants to be number one again, and having a successful ATP 1000 Masters few months is a major key, although just the means to an end. Federer needs his rest more than ever, and maybe taking an easier schedule through the next March-April-May tournaments could set up an impressive showing in the Roland Garros, where he needs to make the Finals to protect his 2011 points.