2016 Australian Open: Rusedski backs Murray for final

Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 18-31 January
Coverage: Live radio and text commentary on all Andy Murray matches. Listen to Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 live sports extra from 07:00 GMT every day.

Greg Rusedski expects Andy Murray to reach a fifth Australian Open final but believes Novak Djokovic will prove tough to overcome for the Scot.

Murray faces German teenager Alexander Zverev in the first round on Tuesday.

"I think Murray is going to find a way to get into the final again this year," Rusedski told BBC Scotland.

"I do believe he has a chance to win the Australian Open, but a certain man by the name of Novak Djokovic has been sublime."

With Murray seeded second for the tournament, he cannot face world number one Djokovic until the final.

But Rusedski warned the Scot will have some difficult hurdles to overcome before reaching that stage.

"It's a little bit more dangerous than we think, the draw," he said. "I think the first week Murray will be pretty comfortable. Fourth round is Bernard Tomic and then David Ferrer, who hasn't played as well as he has in the past.

Andy Murray has lost four finals at the Australian Open
Andy Murray has lost four finals at the Australian Open

"Then, after that, it gets very difficult because it's Stan Wawrinka - they call him 'Stan the Man' for a reason.

"He beat Novak Djokovic at the French Open. He has won the Australian Open as well, so from the semis onwards it gets difficult, but I still think Murray is going to find a way to get into the final again this year."

After being a losing finalist in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015, Murray is hoping to finally claim his first Australian Open crown, which would be the third Grand Slam title of his career.

Despite those four final defeats - the first of which was to Roger Federer before three losses to Djokovic - Rusedski rejects the suggestion Murray now has a mental block when it comes to making the final step and winning the tournament.

"I wouldn't describe it as a block," he said. "There's no disrespect losing to Djokovic and Federer in finals.

"If you look at Murray's past history, it's taken him five attempts to win his first major, which he won at the US Open. He's won Wimbledon, he's won the Davis Cup now.

"After winning the Davis Cup, usually as a player you gain in confidence, so I do believe he has a chance to win the Australian Open.

Murray has lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final three times
Murray has lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final three times

"But Djokovic has been quite sensational and his start to the year, that final in Qatar against Nadal, was frightening.

"But, in a one-match event, when you're playing in the final and anything can happen, Murray's got a chance."

Rusedski, the former British number one and US Open finalist, does not see Murray encountering any problems getting past his first-round opponent in Melbourne.

"Zverev is probably about two or three years away from his best tennis," said Rusedski, runner-up in the 1997 US Open.

"Murray for me at the moment is at the peak of his powers.

"He had a fantastic 2015, finishing the highest he's ever been ranked in his career at number two at the end of the season, and going on to win the Davis Cup - which I thought was one of the greatest feats in British sport - so I'm very positive for Murray's opening round."

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