Andy Murray blames himself for Australian Open final collapse
Andy Murray blamed himself after suffering more Melbourne misery at the hands of Novak Djokovic yesterday, losing the pair's third Australian Open final with a dramatic late collapse.
After the first two sets were split in two hours and 32 minutes, Murray looked to be in command against an apparently ailing Djokovic when he broke for a 2-0 lead in the third.
However, from then on the 27-year-old Scot won just one of the next 13 games as a rejuvenated Djokovic raised his level to secure a fifth Australian Open and eighth grand slam title with a 7-6 (7/5) 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 6-0 win in three hours and 39 minutes.
"The third set was frustrating because I got a bit distracted when he fell on the ground after a couple of shots. It appeared that he was cramping and then I let that distract me a little bit," said Murray, who lost to Djokovic in the 2011 and 2013 finals and to Roger Federer in 2010.
"That's what I'm most disappointed about, not so much the fourth set because I think, especially at the end of it, he was just going for everything and it was going in."
Murray said he hoped Djokovic had not been exaggerating the extent of his problems, adding: "He obviously looked like he was in quite a bad way at the beginning of the third set and came back unbelievably at the end of that set. Then the way he was hitting the ball in the fourth and moving was impressive.
"I'm frustrated at myself for letting that bother me at the beginning of the third set, because I was playing well, I had good momentum, and then just dropped off for like 10 minutes and it got away from me."
Murray said it was hard to ignore what was going on with big screens in Rod Laver Arena showing replays after almost every point, but admitted: "I play enough matches to be able to handle that situation better."
Djokovic said he had gone through a "crisis" at the end of the second set and start of the third, adding: "I just felt very exhausted and I needed some time to regroup and recharge and get back on track.
"I'm just glad that I believed it all the way through. I went through the physical crisis in the matter of 20 minutes. I didn't feel that too many times in my career.
"But it was a similar situation two years ago in the final, where two sets went over two hours."