Tuesday 12 December 2017

I'm no faker, insists Djokovic as he looks to clear air with Murray


Newly crowned Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the Australian Open tennis trophy along the Yarra river in downtown Melbourne
Newly crowned Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia poses with the Australian Open tennis trophy along the Yarra river in downtown Melbourne

Paul Newman

Novak Djokovic wants to clear the air with Andy Murray following their controversial Australian Open final on Sunday.

Djokovic said on his return to Melbourne Park yesterday that he had a "good and very fair relationship" with Murray which he hoped would not be spoiled by the Scot's unhappiness over the manner of his four-set defeat here.

Djokovic appeared to be in physical difficulty at the start of both the second and third sets of the final as he stumbled and struggled to chase down shots. On both occasions Murray (right) took an early lead, only for the world No 1 to rediscover his strength almost instantly.

Murray, who admitted that he had allowed himself to be distracted by his opponent's physical issues, said he had been surprised by the speed of Djokovic's recovery. "If it was cramp, that's a tough thing to recover from and play as well as he did at the end," said the Scot in the post-match interview.

Asked yesterday whether he feared that the incident might affect his relationship with Murray, Djokovic said: "From my perspective, no. How he feels about it, it's obviously still very fresh to talk about that. He's definitely disappointed about losing that match. It's normal that some time has to pass. We'll see.

"If there is a chance, if he's willing to talk, I'll talk, no problem. I have nothing to hide. I'm not the sort of guy who is pretending, who is trying to do something behind anyone's back or is saying bad things about anybody, especially about someone I have known for a long time. I have respect for him.

"I don't want to point a finger at him or the media or whoever might be trying to cause some kind of unnecessary tension here. Hopefully things will be right in the future."

Murray and Djokovic have known each other since they first met at an U-12s tournament in France, though the Serb admitted their relationship had changed in recent times.

"Not in a bad way," he said. "It's just because we have been rivals for the last couple of years, so we don't get to be together as we would maybe like to. But now when he gets married and maybe has a kid we will spend more time. We'll have an excuse. Things will hopefully be different in the future.

"I do look at him, Rafa (Nadal) and Roger (Federer) as my friends, honestly, because I see them so much, more than my parents and sometimes more than my wife.

"Yes, we are rivals and of course you can't really sit down and have dinners and chat about some intimate things because tomorrow you're going to be on the court fighting for the biggest trophies. So at this point of our careers maybe that intimate and close relationship is not possible yet."

Djokovic admitted that he had already started to think about the French Open, where he will attempt again to claim the only Grand Slam trophy that has so far eluded him. (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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