Novak Djokovic believes his rivalry with Andy Murray is developing into one of the sport’s all-time great match-ups after the world No. 1 edged their latest dramatic encounter at the ATP Tour Finals.
Djokovic and Murray pushed each other to the limits in a bruising match which could have gone either way before the Serb eventually prevailed.
It was the latest in a growing list of memorable meetings between the two 25-year-olds, who have been on-court rivals and off-court friends since their first meeting at an under-12 tournament in south of France.
In 2012 alone, they have clashed seven times, with Djokovic starting the year with a victory in the Australian Open semifinals and Murray getting his revenge with an Olympic last four win and then, even more significantly, a five-set triumph over the Serb to win his first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open.
And with Roger Federer approaching the end of his career and Rafael Nadal hampered by knee problems, there is every chance that Djokovic’s clashes with the world No. 3, Murray, will prove to be the sport’s most significant occasion for the rest of the decade.
“It was another great match and another great performance from both of us,” Djokovic said after his 10th victory in 17 meetings with Murray.
Djokovic admits his matches against Murray carry even more emotional meaning for both players, because they have spent so long chasing the same dream of being the world’s best.
“Of course,” Djokovic said. “We know each other so well. The friendship goes for long time, since we were 11 years old.
“More or less we developed into professional tennis players at the same time. So, as I said, hopefully this rivalry will evolve and we can have many more great matches on the tour.”
Murray believes the regularity of their meetings in the latter stages of tournaments and the knowledge each has about the other’s game after so many encounters, has added an extra edge to the rivalry.
“I think both of us probably see each other’s games pretty well. Mainly this year, because we’ve played so much. You kind of know a little bit what to expect,” Murray said.
“That’s why all the matches, especially the last few, have been so close and decided by a few points.
“The intensity of my matches with him has been extremely high this year, there are a lot of long rallies, and the matches are incredibly tight.” — AFP