Djokovic v Murray:
Will this one compare to the first semi?
Head to heads are 6-4 to Djokovic. Technically Murray won their last match. He was leading by a set and 3-0 when Djokovic retired from the Final in Cincinnati. Prior to that match the last time they played on a hard court was the final of the Australian Open 2011 which Djokovic won.
The Australian Open has been Murray’s most successful grand slam. He has reached the final for the last 2 years losing to Federer and Djokovic. He lost both matches in straight sets.
So is he able to make it to a third consecutive final? Murray’s tennis talent isn’t in question. The problems have been between his ears. No top sportsman should be coached by their mum or even have their mum as part of their support team. That has brought about a Mummy’s boy mental atitude. At times you almost expected him to take out a plastic lunch box at the change of ends and unwrap sandwiches that are wrapped in foil and cut into small triangles. Maybe a Petit Filou yogurt to follow?
How many times have we seen him start a match well only for his mental weakness to throw away the chance of a victory? That is going to change. No maternal cotton wool in the Murray camp now. No “yes man” coach with no real pedigree at the highest level. Have you ever watched a Davis Cup match and seen Murray and British team “coach” John Lloyd at the change of ends? Lloyd was too scared to advise Murray and Murray gave the impression that he wasn’t interested in hearing anything that he had to say.
For the first time Murray has someone in his team who demands respect from him. Lendl was one of the greatest players I ever saw play. Always aggressive and competitive. He won’t care about upsetting Murray. For the first time in his career Murray has a coach with a better playing record than his own. If Lendl speaks, Murray will listen.
Djokovic has said that Lendl won’t make any short term difference. I don’t agree. There is only a subtle difference needed for Murray to move his game to the next level. If Lendl isn’t the right person to do it then it will be someone very much like him.
Neither player had the hardest route to the quarter final stage. Nishikori was potentially a tricky opponent but was dealt with very effectively. David Ferrer promised to be more of an obstacle to Djokovic. As expected he made the Number 1 fight very hard. The first 3 games of their match took 22 minutes. Two very tight sets including a second set tie break that Ferrer had a great chance of winning took their toll on the Serb’s body. He was seen to hold his hamstring and in the press conference after th match said that he had some sudden pain that didn’t last long. He also had a few problems with his breathing with a blocked nose making it difficult to get enough oxygen into his body.
Murray seems to be fit and will try to do what Ferrer almost managed to do and will work Djokovic hard in long rallies.
This will be a massive test of Murray’s Lendl-induced positive attitude. I believe we will see a different Murray to the one seen before in massive matches. He has beaten Djokovic before. In fact he has won 4 of their last 6 matches if you include Novak’s retirement in their last one.
My head says that Djokovic will be too strong on one of the world’s biggest stages. I aren’t a fan of Murray but Murray Mk II? The Lendl factor is pulling on my heart strings. He was probably my favourite player of all time. Nothing mattered to him except winning and he didn’t really care what people thought of him. If he can pass even a fraction of that mind set to Murray and fuse it with Murray’s immense natural ability then its an exciting prospect.
No whining today from Murray. No grimaces, tantrums or smashing his knuckles on his strings and it might just be his day.
Update: What a match! At times the standard was poor and they were both struggling to hold serve. Murray created so may break points but only took a fraction of them.
Djokovic took the opening set and Murray came back well to take the second. The third set should have gone Murray’s way soner than it did as he was a break up but Djokovic took it into a tie break which Murray won.
The fourth set was very one sided and Djokovic took at 4-0 lead. At 1-5 Murray served a bizarre game which saw Djokovic hit gentle passing shots for winners. The passing shot that gave Djokovic the set wasn’t even past the Scot when Murray started the walk to his chair.
In the 5th it was Djokovic who won he first break and moved into a 5-2 lead. Murray pulled back to 5-5. Djokovic broke him back and served out the match.
Djokovic won 6-3, 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5.