‘Not Many People Predicted Novak Djokovic Would Win 20 Grand Slams’, Says Andy Murray

Published 08/29/2021, 12:04 PM EDT


As the final Grand Slam of the season kicks off on Monday, we have some mouth-watering clashes on the cards. The 2021 US Open will be an enthralling one, despite missing some top stars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. Novak Djokovic will start as the firm favorite, aiming to clinch the historic Calendar Grand Slam. A long-time friend of his, Andy Murray, kicks off against the powerful Stefanos Tsitsipas. Ahead of the competition, the Brit broke down the specialty of his Serbian compatriot.

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Murray lays down what makes Novak Djokovic a class apart

From a young age, both Murray and Djokovic have been a part of the ‘big-4’. They know each other’s games really well, and are great pals. The duo have faced each other on multiple occasions, producing some of the best tennis we have seen along the way. And in his pre-tournament press conference, the former World No.1 praised the current World No.1’s immense skills.

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“Yeah with Novak I think he always had lots of qualities on the court and had a very solid all-round game. But again, I don’t think many people would’ve predicted that he would go on to win 20 Grand Slams and try to do what he’s going to do here. But if you look at his game over the years and the things he’s improved, yeah he’s turned himself into a complete player. He plays great on all surfaces, he has an underrated serve, he’s the best returner of all time.”

‘What he’s doing is very special’: Andy Murray

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 13: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates as he holds the trophy after winning his Men’s Singles Final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during Day Fifteen of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on June 13, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

While Andy Murray opens his campaign with a tough encounter, the Serbian star has a slightly easier task at hand. In his bid to win his 4th major of the year, Djokovic begins his US Open stint against Holger Rune. His main concerns begin in the second week, where he will face some seeded opposition. Ahead of the tournament, Murray spoke about the special aspects of the Djokovic game.

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“He had unbelievable flexibility and was able to defend the corners extremely well, which I think is a bit different to the other two [Federer and Nadal]. Roger and Rafa defend very well but it’s more the way that Novak moves is quite different and the way he can slide into his backhand even on hard-courts and stuff; he shrinks the court that way.” The 2-time Olympic champion expected Djokovic to be good, but not as legendary as he turned out. “I knew he was a great player but to be doing what he’s doing is very very special,” claimed Murray.

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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)

What do you think of Andy Murray’s claims about not many people thinking Novak Djokovic would reach such heights of greatness? Do you think he can win all four Slam titles of the season? If not, who is going to stop him? We will find out soon.

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

230 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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