Rafael Nadal will not be lulled into a false sense of superiority despite holding a 12-0 record over Australian Open finals opponent Stanislas Wawrinka as the pair get ready for their Sunday showdown.
Nadal takes an undefeated 2014 record into the Australia Day contest, having won his season start in Doha.
But Nadal cannot take anything for granted against Wawrinka, who beat number two Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal and followed up by taking out number seven Tomas Berdych.
“If you play a match, you play a Grand Slam final, that’s a different kind of match than I played against him in the past,” said Nadal.
“Stan is playing better than ever.
“He’s a player who is ready to win against everybody today. If I don’t play my best tennis, I am sure that he will win three sets against me,” he said.
Wawrinka is breaking new ground no matter the outcome, already at a career-high fifth ranking and with a chance to take over third if he wins the trophy.
“Rafa’s playing for sure some of his best tennis,” said Wawrinka. “He can really play his game and try to play aggressive. I’ve played him so many times, lost so many times, but I’m going to try again.
“I know what I have to do. I know that I have to play aggressive, serve really well, and try always to push him. We’ll see how I can do that tomorrow night.
“I’m really happy, excited, I’m going to be nervous for sure.” he said. “But tomorrow I’m going to keep my routine: try to come early to practice, take time to have dinner here, then listen to some music, be alone a little bit like I had before the semifinal.”
The Swiss also believes that past results mean little in the upcoming context.
“The record is not what I’m looking at; I don’t care about having lost 12 times.
“It’s more about playing Rafa: he’s the number one, the best player.
His game is quite tough for me, especially with a one-hand backhand.
But I had some good matches last year against him, close ones. I have a few things that I will try tomorrow.
“I’m playing my best tennis here, physically I’m ready. I’m going to try everything.”