Murray relishing Djokovic challenge

Melbourne: Britain`s world number four Andy Murray is acutely aware of the damage Novak Djokovic can inflict on the blue hardcourts at Melbourne Park.

Last year, the Scot entered his second successive Australian Open final hoping to become the first British man to win a grand slam title since 1936 on what is considered his favourite surface.

Instead the Serb wiped him off the court in straight sets, then used the victory to kick-start his impressive 2011 when he won three grand slam titles and compiled a 70-6 record.

"After the year that he had, the loss didn`t look so bad six months later," Murray said ahead of Friday`s Australian Open semi-final.

"I`ve always liked playing against him...and it would be a good marker to see how I`ve improved since last year."

Djokovic had troubles with his breathing and felt his hamstring during his tough four-set quarter-final victory over David Ferrer, although he dismissed any fitness concerns heading into the semi-finals.

The pair have played each other eight times on hardcourts with a 4-4 record. Djokovic holds an overall 6-4 record against the world number four.

"He`s definitely very motivated to win his first grand slam," Djokovoic said. "He`s been playing last two years` finals here. He`s been proving to himself and to the rest of the people that the Australian Open is probably his best grand slam.

"But on the other hand I have been playing quite well here in the last couple of years.”

"We have to expect a great match. I hope that I can step out on the court trying to repeat the same thing I did last year, but it`s definitely going to take a lot of effort to be a winner."

Bureau Report