Thursday 23 November 2017

Andy Murray: I shouldn't have let Djokovic's fitness bother me

Andy Murray looks on in his men's final match against Novak Djokovic in Melbourne
Andy Murray looks on in his men's final match against Novak Djokovic in Melbourne

Andy Murray admitted he should have handled his doubts about Novak Djokovic's fitness much better after suffering another Australian Open final defeat to the world number one.

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, 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.

"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," said Murray, who lost the 2011 and 2013 finals to Djokovic and in 2010 to Roger Federer.

"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 10 minutes and it got away from me.

"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.

"But it was a similar situation two years ago in the final, where two sets went over two hours. I felt that I had some physical edge over him in that match. That was in the back of my mind.

"That was something that kept me going and obviously the importance of the moment. I didn't want to give up. Even though I went through this moment, I believed that I'm going to get that necessary strength. I'm going to have to earn it, and that's what I did."

Murray's coach Amelie Mauresmo took the positives from the new world number four's progress since losing 6-0 6-1 to Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals in November.

"Andy was a little bit timid when he had a break or led. Novak served really well, better than Andy," Mauresmo said.

"The two little things made the difference. But these have been two really good weeks compared to the end of last year. He has really succeeded in finding his level of play.

"Of course there is a little disappointment after a loss in a final, which is normal. But we will all look back on where he has come from to where he is at now. There are still a few steps to climb before maybe holding a grand slam trophy again, but the gap is closing."

Press Association

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