Andy Murray Says Playing Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open is ‘Unbelievably Difficult’

Published 12/19/2021, 5:30 AM EST
Novak Djokovic of Serbia (R) shakes hands with Andy Murray of Great Britain(L) after winning during their tennis match on the final match at the Qatar ATP Open Tennis tournament at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, capital of Qatar, on January 07, 2017. Novak Djokovic won the title 2-1 (Xinhua/Nikku) (Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)


The Mubadala World Tennis Championship just ended in Abu Dhabi, and Andy Murray was runner up, bowing out to Russian Andrey Rublev. Murray, in the post-match conference, talked about World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

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When asked about which of the Big Three are the toughest competitor, Murray had a diplomatic answer. He responded that it depended on the surface they played on. However, Murray did talk at length about Novak Djokovic as a competitor.

Novak Djokovic loves the hard court

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Murray was asked about who his toughest competitor out of the Big Three was. The British former World No. 1 then talked about Novak Djokovic first. “I played Novak (Djokovic) a bunch of times in Australia and, you know, unbelievable,” he said. “He is tough to play against everywhere, but in Australia, you know the conditions there.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 10: Novak Djokovic of Serbia talks with Andy Murray of Great Britain before their practice match ahead of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 10, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Of course, Murray’s statements come as no surprise, as Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times. “He loves the courts there (Australia) and he’s unbelievably difficult to play against there,” Murray describes.

On grass, the two have only met twice. Both times, Andy Murray has prevailed. “I don’t know if it’s because my game matched up with him on grass that I was able to win twice against him,” Murray said.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have met five times at the Australian Open. However, every single time, the Serbian has prevailed. In fact, in their 28 matches on a hard surface, Djokovic has won 20, with a 71% win rate against the British Murray.

In their overall head-to-head, Djokovic commands a 69% career win percentage over Andy. “Playing Novak when he’s at his peak on a hard court is incredibly difficult,” Murray states.

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Murray commends Nadal’s clay-court prowess

Murray also talked about who he finds the most difficult to play on a clay court. “For me, there is no question that Rafa (Nadal) has been the best on clay and is the toughest to play against,” Murray says.

MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 10: Andy Murray of Great Britain shakes hands at the net after his straight sets victory against Rafael Nadal of Spain in the mens final during day nine of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 10, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The two have met a total of 9 times on a clay court, and Rafael Nadal has won 7 out of those matchups. In the career confrontations, the Spaniard has won 17 out of their 24 matches.

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Samarveer Singh

257 articles

Samarveer Singh is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. Holding a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Fitness Sciences and Training, Samarveer is obsessed with tennis and basketball. A collegiate athlete himself, he admires all sportspersons who put in the work in order to achieve excellence.

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