Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray – Six of their best ATP battles
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have gone head to head 36 times over the course of their careers, including 25 times beyond the Majors on the ATP tour.
Here, Tennishead takes a look back at six of the most exciting ATP tour matches between the multi-Slam rivals.
2008 Cincinnati Masters Final – Murray wins 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5)
Both sprightly 21-year-olds, this was a first meeting between Djokovic and Murray in an ATP final, their sixth overall.
The previous five has also all come at Masters 1000 level, with Djokovic winning the first four before Murray claimed the fifth in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Canadian Masters.
Barely a week later they met again in the final of Cincinnati, with the Brit and Serb dropping just one and no sets respectively to get there.
While Djokovic was vying for a fifth Masters 1000 title and third in 2008, Murray was looking to land his first trophy at 1000 level.
Though eventually a straight sets victory for Murray, it was as tight as such a win can get.
He came through in two tiebreaks to capture a sixth career tour title and maiden Masters crown.
2012 Shanghai Masters Final – Djokovic wins 5-7, 7-6 (13-11), 6-3
Four years and nine meetings on a lot had changed for the two men.
Djokovic had become number one for the first time after ousting Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon 2011 final to land his first title there and third Slam overall.
That after adding the 2011 Australian Open to his 2008 Melbourne crown, defeating Murray in straight sets in that final.
Meanwhile the Brit had turned a corner in his career after a heartbreaking Wimbledon 2012 final loss to Roger Federer.
However, he then downed the Swiss to win Olympic singles gold less than a month later before clinching his first Slam title in his fifth final, defeating Djokovic in a five-set epic.
The Shanghai final was a first meeting between the two men since New York.
Murray was the two-time defending champion in China, into his third straight final at the event, whereas Djokovic was in pursuit of his first title there.
A dramatic battle saw Murray serve for the match in the second set before Djokovic saved four championship points, including three in a tense tiebreak.
He went on to claim the victory 6-3 in the third for his 13th career Masters 1000 title.
2014 Miami Masters Quarter-Final – Djokovic wins 7-5, 6-3
Less for the quality and more for the drama, this Miami match-up brought out a controversial moment in a crucial point of the battle.
With Murray serving to stay in the opening set, Djokovic won the rally with a volley very close to the net.
In fact, replays showed that the Serb hit the ball well over Murray’s side of the net before it bounced, meaning the Brit should have won the point.
Murray argued his case with the umpire after seeing the replay on the big screen, but the ruling could not be changed on that evidence and Djokovic went on to break before winning in straight sets.
Djokovic went on to win the whole tournament, claiming his fourth Masters title in Florida and a second ‘Sunshine Double’ after winning Indian Wells earlier that season.
2015 Miami Masters Final – Djokovic wins 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-0
A year on from the 2014 controversy, Murray had a chance to exact revenge at the same event, this time in the championship match.
Such a possibility was still on the cards after Murray lost a tight opener in a tiebreak before levelling the match 6-4 in the second.
However, Djokovic was his imperious self from there, bagelling the Brit to clinch back-to-back Miami titles.
We will let the highlights of the match do more of the talking here.
2015 Canadian Masters Final – Murray wins 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
Miami 2014 started an unwanted run for Murray against Djokovic as he lost seven more in a row to his rival, the 2015 Australian Open final and 2015 Miami Masters final among them.
Djokovic was also on a tear in 2015, having already won the Melbourne Slam and Wimbledon to add to four of the five Masters titles before Montreal.
Murray was on a mission in the final though as he sought a third career title at the Canadian Masters.
He dug deep to avoid an eight straight loss to Djokovic, winning after more than three hours on court and with his sixth championship point.
It was a first win for Murray over Djokovic since his 2013 Wimbledon final triumph more than two years before, as well as an 11th career Masters 1000 trophy.
2016 ATP Finals Final – Murray wins 6-3, 6-4
After Djokovic dominated 2015, it looked as though no other player could get a look in.
That feeling was compounded by the Serb claiming a sixth Australian Open title and first Roland Garros title in 2016 to complete the Career Grand Slam, defeating Murray in both finals.
But in the second half of the year Murray switched gears as he pushed towards the top of the ATP rankings.
After winning the Rome Masters, Queen’s, a second Wimbledon and the Rio Olympics, the Brit entered the second hard swing of the season in top form.
He then won Beijing, the Shanghai Masters and Vienna to enter the Paris Masters with a shot at becoming world number one.
And, after Djokovic went out to Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals and Murray reached the final, he achieved just that, becoming the first British man to become ATP singles world number one.
Then came the season-ending ATP Finals, with Djokovic chasing a fifth consecutive crown there, Murray a first.
After both won all three round robin matches, Murray came through a thrilling semi-final against Milos Raonic while Djokovic despatched Kei Nishikori to face Murray for a 35th time in their careers.
Should Murray have lost, Djokovic would claim back the world number one spot and win an unprecedented sixth successive ATP Finals.
But the new number one was up to the task, defending that status to end the year in the position and achieve his first ATP Finals triumph.
Bonus – Best Points
These two greats of the game have played some brilliant matches, and within those matches some amazing points.
Check out 10 of the best compiled by TennisTV.
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