Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have not clashed since the 2017 Doha final, but that will change Thursday in Madrid. More than five years after they last met, the superstars will battle again with a spot in the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals on the line.
“”We’ve had so many great battles over the years in some of the biggest tournaments in the world. We played in the final I think of all four Grand Slams, we played here in the final, and I haven’t had that opportunity to play against him for a long time,” Murray said. “Didn’t know if I ever would get that chance, so I’ll enjoy it, I’ll have a fantastic attitude in the match, give it my best and see where I’m at.”
Djokovic leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head Rivalry 25-11, including 5-1 on clay. ATPTour.com looks at their previous meetings…
2017 Qatar ExxonMobil Open final, Doha, Djokovic d. Murray 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
It did not take Djokovic and Murray long to renew their rivalry as the calendar flipped to the 2017 season. The Serbian survived a stern test from Murray to defend his Doha title and exact revenge after conceding the year-end World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings just two months prior.
Djokovic’s intense attitude was matched by his aggressive on-court play. He charged the net 35 times against Murray, winning almost 70 per cent of those points during the two-hour and 54-minute final. But the Scot displayed his own brand of competitive tennis, especially when Djokovic was trying to serve out the match during the second set.
The Serbian had three championship points while serving at 5-4 but Murray erased them all and won the next two games to force a decider. As Djokovic had done earlier in the match, Murray invited the crowd to support him. The break at 5-4 extended Murray’s remarkable service break streak. The Scot has now broken his opponent in 112 consecutive matches.
Djokovic converted in the deciding set, breaking Murray to love for a 4-3 lead and later serving out his 67th tour-level title.
2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals final, London, Murray d Djokovic 63 64
Andy Murray sealed a storybook conclusion to his 2016 campaign, assuming the mantle of year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings with his first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title. Murray dethroned rival Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday’s gripping final.
Murray capped a stunning march to the pinnacle of the tennis world with his 24th consecutive match win and fifth straight title. He cemented his place in the history books in becoming the 17th player to finish atop the ATP Rankings and first Brit to lift the trophy at the season finale.
“It’s a very special day,” Murray during the trophy presentation. “It’s been a tough rivalry. I’ve lost many of them but obviously I’m happy I’ve got the win today. To finish the year No. 1 is very special. It’s something I never expected.”
2016 Roland Garros final, Paris, Djokovic d. Murray 36 61 62 64
In Paris, Djokovic and Murray met for the seventh time in a Grand Slam final, one meeting shy of the record held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
In addition to completing the career Grand Slam, Djokovic became the reigning champion at all four majors, a rare achievement in men’s professional tennis. It has been nearly 50 years since Rod Laver last achieved the feat in 1969, having previously done so in 1962. Don Budge was the only other player to own the quartet of trophies at the same time, in 1938.
It was Murray, who survived five-setters in his opening two rounds, who made the better start. The Brit played first-strike tennis and appeared in control in winning the first set. Entering Sunday, Murray had owned a 9-4 record against Djokovic when claiming the first set, but the World No. 1 would quickly discover his rhythm from the baseline as momentum swung in his favour. He snatched an immediate break for 2-0 in the second set, working all corners of the court with drop shots and backhand winners and extinguishing any nerves from the early stages.
Djokovic grabbed another quick break to open the third set and yet another to open the fourth. Murray dug in his heels with the Serbian serving for the match at 5-2, claiming one break back, but the top seed’s moment of glory would eventually come two games later after three hours and three minutes, securing the Coupe de Mousquetaires for the first time. He emerged victorious on his third match point.
2016 Internazionali BNL d’Italia final, Rome, Murray d. Djokovic 63 63
Just eight days removed from suffering a three-set defeat to Djokovic in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open, Murray was eager to exact revenge on his longtime rival. With the Serb still suffering the physical effects of a grueling three-hour semi-final battle against Kei Nishikori the night before, the Scot pounced. Murray feasted on Djokovic short balls, standing tall on the baseline and employing aggressive tactics in frustrating the World No. 1 in wet, slippery conditions.
The fresher Murray, who was celebrating his 29th birthday, secured the opening set with a sublime forehand drop shot winner and would continue to press his foot on the accelerator as the second set commenced. He denied three break points early on and claimed the decisive break with a rifled second serve return that left Djokovic reeling. Entering a critical moment at 4/3 30/30, Murray, who was 0/7 on second serve points, went big with his second offering to hold for 5-3. He secured the title a game later as Djokovic’s serve crumbled. The top seed double faulted to give Murray his first match point and a lasered backhand winner secured the victory, his first in the Italian capital.
Murray clinched a 12th Masters 1000 crown and second on clay, after capturing the title last year in Madrid (d. Nadal). It was his 36th tour-level crown overall. Djokovic, meanwhile, fell in his quest to add a fifth Rome crown to his haul, having emerged victorious in 2008, ’11 & ’14-15. The World No. 1 was also bidding to become the first player to capture 30 Masters 1000 titles, in addition to crossing the $100 million mark in career prize money.
2016 Mutua Madrid Open final, Madrid, Djokovic d. Murray 62 36 63
Djokovic maintained his stranglehold on the rivalry with a three-set victory in the Caja Magica, claiming an unprecedented 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and drawing level with Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg at No. 6 on the Open Era titles list, lifting his 64th tour-level trophy.
The Serb, who now owns a dominant 22-5 record in deciding-set tour-level finals, was on the front foot in the early stages, winning 15 of the first 18 baseline points to capture the opening set after just 31 minutes. Murray had a swift and effective response in the second, ratcheting up his aggressive play to force a decider. But Djokovic had the last word, raising his level with audacious shotmaking at the most critical moments. A clinical down-the-line backhand at 3-2 30/40 would secure the decisive break for the Serb. Needing to turn aside seven break points at 5-3, he survived the late onslaught that included a pair of rocketed forehand winners from Murray. The valiant effort from the Scot would not be enough as Djokovic converted his third championship point to prevail after two hours and six minutes.
Djokovic lifted his second trophy in Madrid, following his initial success in 2011 (d. Nadal). He has lost just two of his previous 34 sets played against Top 10 opposition since the 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Murray, meanwhile, dropped to World No. 3 in the ATP Rankings after failing to retain the title.
2016 Australian Open final, Melbourne, Djokovic d. Murray 61 75 76(3)
In the first No. 1 versus No. 2 Australian Open final since 2012, Djokovic joined Roy Emerson as a six-time champion at the Grand Slam in Melbourne. Victory against Murray also drew him level with Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver as an 11-time major singles championship winner and level with Andre Agassi on 46 hard-court titles.
Djokovic made a lightening start to the match. After saving a break point in his opening game, the Serb raced into a 5-0 lead in just 19 minutes. In a keenly contested second set, Murray paid the price for forehand unforced errors as Djokovic broke for a 4-3 lead. Murray immediately struck back, breaking for the first time in the match to level at 4-4, but lost his serve from a 40/0 advantage in the 11th game as Djokovic regained the initiative. Building on his momentum, Djokovic broke Murray in the first game of the third set. The Dunblane native broke Djokovic in the sixth game to draw level and ultimately forced a tie-break. But two double faults from the Scot proved his undoing in the early stages of the tie-break.
Since the start of the 2015 US Open, Djokovic has compiled a 38-1 match record, with his only defeat coming to Roger Federer in the round robin stage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – he would beat the Swiss when they met again in the final later that week. In that spell, Djokovic has gone 17-1 against Top 10 opponents.
2015 BNP Paribas Masters final, Paris, Djokovic d. Murray 62 64
Djokovic carved a slice of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 history in securing a three-peat in Paris. The World No. 1 captured a single-season record sixth Masters 1000 crown, notching his 26th title overall. The Serb reeled off three straight wins over Top 10 opposition to close the tournament, bringing his 2015 haul to 27-4. He became the first player to win four BNP Paribas Masters titles as well.
Djokovic was dominant on serve against Murray, defending his second serve brilliantly with 72 per cent won. After capturing the opening set in 42 minutes, he would look to run away with the match after breaking for 2-1 in the second set, but Murray made the most of his first break opportunity a game later. The Scot broke back, capitalising on a momentary lapse in concentration from the Serb, as a punishing second serve return of his own would secure the break to love. Murray would later have a 0/30 peek into Djokovic’s serve at 3-2, but the Serb reeled off eight of the next nine points to hold and claim the decisive break for 4-3.
2015 Shanghai Rolex Masters semi-finals, Shanghai, Djokovic d. Murray 61 63
Djokovic was at his very best in cruising into the Shanghai Rolex Masters final with a dominant victory over Murray. Djokovic reached the final in his seventh consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, extending his overall winning streak to 16 straight matches and 20 consecutive sets won.
The World No. 1 applied significant pressure on Murray from the start. The Scot staved off a pair of break points in the opening game of the match, but Djokovic would not be denied two games later, breaking for 2-1 and never looking back. In a dominant display of baseline aggression, he would reel off 24 of the next 27 points to capture the first set in a mere 25 minutes. Murray was victimised by 17 unforced errors in the opener, but looked poised to make it a competitive affair after securing an immediate break to begin the second set.
Murray’s lead would be short lived, however, as a double fault in the next game would hand the break back and Djokovic would surge to the finish line. The Serb laced a backhand down the line to punctuate the 68-minute win. He fired five aces and converted on five of eight break chances in total.
“It’s the best match of the tournament at the right time against a player who was in form and one of my biggest rivals,” said Djokovic, who would go on to hoist the trophy a day later. “He’s a player I lost to a couple months ago in the Montreal final. Obviously there was a lot at stake. Whenever we play against each other, it’s always exciting. It’s always a huge challenge. But I was ready. I came in from the very first point with the right intensity, played great, on a very high level.”
2015 Rogers Cup final, Montreal, Murray d. Djokovic 64 46 63
Murray notched his 11th win over a World No. 1 in toppling Djokovic for his third Rogers Cup title. The Scot extended his win streak in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 matches to 11 straight, capturing his 11th title at the level and second of the year (Madrid). Just two days after securing his spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, he won tour-level crown No. 35.
Murray was ultra aggressive from the outset, not yielding Djokovic much rhythm from the baseline, while making significant inroads in the Serb’s serve. After splitting sets, Murray surged to a 3-0 lead in the decider with an immediate break. Djokovic entered the match with a streak of 24 consecutive deciding-set wins at the Masters 1000 level and was poised to break back, but Murray held after a mesmerising 15-minute, 10-deuce fifth game, saving six break points for 4-1. He would miss a trio of match points on Djokovic’s serve at 5-2, but would not disappoint a game later, saving two break points and sealing the win after exactly three hours.
“To win this one was nice, especially the way the match went as well,” Murray said. “It would have been easy for me to let that one slip away. But I fought well and stayed calm in the important moments of the third set.”
2015 Roland Garros semi-final, Paris, Djokovic d. Murray 63 63 57 57 61
Murray pushed Djokovic to the brink in Paris, with the Serbian closing in on completing the career Grand Slam. Needing two days to secure victory, the World No. 1 battled for more than three hours before rain and fading light halted their 27th FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter during the fourth set. Despite Murray snatching the overnight momentum after capturing the third, it was Djokovic who pulled away when play resumed on Saturday.
Murray’s mettle was on full display in forcing a decider, but his bid to record a seventh two-set comeback in Grand Slams was derailed. Djokovic, who punched his ticket to a ninth successive Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after defeating Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, extended his winning streak to 28 straight and moved to the doorstep of making major history.
“I don’t think I was lucky,” Djokovic said. “I think I was playing some great tennis yesterday. He found his game late in the third. I had many opportunities to finish the match in straight sets, but credit to Andy. It was a really tough match, over four hours all together, yesterday and today. No different from any other match that we played against each other. It’s always a thriller, always a marathon.”
2015 Miami Open presented by Itau Final, Miami, Djokovic d. Murray 76(3) 46 60
With his seventh straight win over World No. 4 Murray, Djokovic captured a fifth crown in South Florida and became the first player to complete the Indian Wells – Miami title sweep three times. The first set of the final was anything but straightforward, with both players tallying two breaks each before Djokovic clinched the tie-break. Murray temporarily turned the tide, taking the second set with a break to love at 5-4. Ultimately, Djokovic’s momentum, a culmination of his recent performances against Murray and his stellar start to the season, was too much for the Dunblane native to overcome in the final set.
“It was just a physical battle between the two of us that play similar game,” Djokovic said. “We haven’t served that well, so we haven’t had that many free points, as a matter of fact. With first or second serves, we needed to earn every single point, to work for it. That’s why this particular match was very tough.”
2015 BNP Paribas Open semi-final, Indian Wells, Djokovic d. Murray 62 63
Djokovic entered the 25th meeting between the two rivals with soaring confidence, and it would be reflected in a dominant victory over the Scot. The top seed was ruthless from the onset, finding his rhythm from the baseline immediately and using his agility to frustrate Murray.
Djokovic would surge to a 3-0 lead in both sets as Murray’s unforced error count rose. Murray pressed for a break back in the fifth game of the second set, but a pair of Djokovic service winners denied both chances. The Serbian’s first match point came on Murray’s racquet at 5-2, which the Scot turned aside with an ace down the T. Djokovic would serve out the win on his fourth match point in the next game, prevailing after one hour and 28 minutes.
The World No. 1 and three-time Indian Wells champion returned to the final – his 31st at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level – after hoisting the trophy the previous year (d. Federer).
“Even though it’s a straight set victory, I still had to earn it,” said Djokovic. “I thought that he didn’t play close to his highest level. He made a lot of unforced errors, especially from the forehand side. Low percentage of first serves in. That allowed me to obviously step in and be aggressive.
“I thought I played solid, with the right intensity from the beginning. Good first serve percentage. Got some free points there in the important moments.”
2015 Australian Open final, Melbourne, Djokovic d. Murray 76(5) 67(4) 63 60
Novak Djokovic became the first player in the Open Era to win five Australian Open crowns and denied Andy Murray his third Grand Slam championship title in his fourth final at Melbourne Park. Djokovic has now won 38 hard-court titles for No. 3 in the Open Era list behind Roger Federer (57) and Andre Agassi (46). It was his fifth clash against Murray in a major final.
Murray fought back from a 1-4 deficit in the first set and led 4/2 in the tie-break before Djokovic mounted his own comeback. Both players exchanged service breaks in the second set, but it was Murray’s mental resilience that helped him into a 5-2 lead in the tie-break, including winning a 26-stroke rally. From an 0-2 deficit in the third set, Djokovic won 12 of 13 games to extend his winning streak to 10 matches against opponents in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings. Roy Emerson, a six-time Australian championship winner, was on hand to present Djokovic the Sir Norman Brookes Trophy.
Murray was bidding to become the first British man to win the Australian Open since Fred Perry in 1934. His run ensures he will return to the Top 4 of the ATP Rankings. Djokovic also beat Murray in the 2011 and 2013 finals.
2014 BNP Paribas Masters quarter-final, Paris, Djokovic d. Murray 75 62
Djokovic continued his push to finish 2014 as year-end World No. 1, ousting eighth seed Murray in the Paris quarter-finals. The top seed would go on to claim a third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in the French capital, having also prevailed in 2009 (d. Monfils) and 2013 (d. Ferrer). Djokovic fired 12 winners and just one ace over the one hour and 41 minute affair. After dropping the first set, Murray pounced early in the second for an early break advantage. The lead would be short-lived, however, as Djokovic broke back immediately and proceeded to reel off five straight games to secure the victory.
“The first set was very close,” Djokovic said after the match. “I had some a few break point opportunities and held my service games pretty well, then I got a crucial break at the end of the first. He was a break up in the second, but then he hit some double faults and allowed me back in. After that, I started swinging through and felt much better.”
2014 China Open semi-final, Beijing, Djokovic d. Murray 63 64
Djokovic, the No. 1 seed in Beijing, improved to a 23-0 in the Chinese capital and reached a fifth China Open final with a straight-sets victory over Murray. Murray rallied briefly in the second set, fighting from a break down to level at 4-4, but Djokovic’s defensive skills left the Dunblane native smashing his racquet in frustration as he capitulated on serve in the ninth game. Djokovic limited Murray to just seven winners and thwarted the Scot on four of his five break point chances in the encounter lasting one hour and 37 minutes.
“It was a two-set victory today, but still it felt like I had to work hard to win the points,” said Djokovic. “There was a lot of rally exchanges. [Andy] had a lot of chances to come back… Just in important moments I managed to play the better tennis.”
2014 US Open quarter-final, New York City, Djokovic d. Murray 76(1) 67(1) 62 64
Top seed Djokovic advanced to an eighth consecutive US Open semi-final after withstanding a withering challenge from Murray that ended after 1 a.m. at Flushing Meadows. The dramatic opening two sets on Arthur Ashe stadium featured eight service breaks and lasted two hours and 13 minutes before Djokovic asserted control in the second half of the match. The Serbian fired 46 winners and broke serve seven times, sealing the win to become the seventh player to reach 50 US Open match victories.
“It was a very physical battle in the opening two and a half sets,” said Djokovic. “I didn’t expect anything less before the match knowing I was facing Andy. The last five times we’ve always gone over three, four hours.”