Murray admires Djokovic’s ‘incredible consistency’
Andy Murray has saluted Novak Djokovic’s “incredible consistency” as the world number two plots to end his rival’s reign as Wimbledon champion.
Djokovic starts his bid for a third successive Wimbledon title firmly established as the sport’s pre-eminent force after an almost unparallelled period of dominance.
The world number one has won six of the last eight Grand Slams and since beating Roger Federer in the All England Club final last year he has gone onto hold all four major titles at the same time.
Beating Murray in the French Open final earlier this month brought Djokovic the only Grand Slam missing from his collection and if the 29-year-old can retain the Wimbledon and US Open titles he will become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete a calendar Grand Slam.
Djokovic last failed to reach a Grand Slam final at the 2014 US Open and has reached seven finals in his nine tournaments in 2016.
“I think the consistency really. I mean, he obviously plays every shot well. He doesn’t have weaknesses in his game. He does everything well. Plays well on all of the courts,” Murray told reporters at Wimbledon on Saturday.
“But his consistency and drive over the last few years has been incredible. The amount of finals he’s played, there’s been barely any matches that he’s played that you’d call upsets in the last 15, 16 months.
“I don’t know if that’s ever happened before, where someone’s pretty much gone over a year consistently reaching the finals of tournaments. That’s the most impressive thing.”
Three of Djokovic’s six titles this year have come at Murray’s expense, in Melbourne, Paris and Madrid, and the Scot has lost 13 of their last 15 meetings.
As a two-time Grand Slam champion, Murray is more aware than most just how difficult it is to sustain that level of excellence.
“In an individual sport, if you have a really bad day, wake up, you feel terrible, you lose at this level,” Murray said.
“He hasn’t had really any of those results or those matches over the last few years. That’s very impressive.”
– Energised –
But, while Murray is happy to pay tribute to a player who has been a friendly rival since their days on the junior circuit, the 29-year-old is desperate to finally tip the balance in his favour.
With that in mind, Murray persuaded his former coach Ivan Lendl to resume their partnership after a two-year hiatus.
Lendl was Murray’s coach when he won Wimbledon, the US Open and the 2012 Olympics — titles that included a win over Djokovic in each event.
The pair were reunited at Queen’s Club last week and Murray seemed energised by Czech great Lendl as he won the Wimbledon warm-up event for a record fifth time.
“The last weeks have gone extremely well,” Murray said. “I don’t feel any added pressure working with him again.
“It actually give a bit of extra confidence because I know last time we worked together, it was very successful. I trust in what he says.
“This last week’s been very good. I’ve enjoyed having him back as part of the team. Hopefully I can have a good run here.”
Murray starts his Wimbledon campaign next week against Liam Broady and his clash with the world number 234 will be his first against a compatriot at the All England Club.
“It will be a bit strange (to play a Brit). I know Liam fairly well. We practised a bit earlier this year. He’s a good guy.