Andy Murray provides incredible insight into mental aspect of facing Novak Djokovic in a final

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at the 2016 French Open

How difficult is it to face Novak Djokovic in a final?

Andy Murray is one person who can give an honest assessment of what it is like to be on the other side of the net in a showpiece match against one of the all-time tennis greats.

Murray and Djokovic have squared off 36 times in top-level tennis and the 24-time Grand Slam winner leads Murray 25–11 in terms of results while 19 of those matches have been in finals and the Serbian also leads that stat 11-8.

Seven of their finals encounters have come at Grand Slams and Murray has won only two those – at the 2012 US Open and at Wimbledon in 2013.

With Djokovic only two trophies away from 100 titles, which will see him become only the third player after Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer to achieve the feat, Murray was asked how difficult it is to face him in a final, given that their careers have overlapped.

“Obviously unbelievably tough. You know, and then the sort of middle, latter stage of his career, you know, I think even stronger,” the former world No 1 started off.

“I have obviously played lots of finals against him and it was extremely difficult for me even when we’d sort of grown up together and had a lot of experience of playing against him in major competitions.

“But I think with what he’s gone on to achieve, you know, in the last five or six years, I think for some of the younger players coming through to be stepping into playing a final of a Masters Series or a Grand Slam and he’s on the other side of the net when he’s won, you know, 24 majors and, like you say, 98 titles, it’s not easy when you have limited experience in those situations and, you know, you’re standing across the net from a guy who’s won as much as he has. That’s really difficult.”

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Murray also faced the likes of Federer and Rafael Nadal at their peaks as he highlighted the enormous task that the up-and-coming youngsters face against the greats.

The three-time Grand Slam winner added: “I felt that a bit early on like when I played Roger in my first US Open final or when I was playing Rafa in the latter stages of events when I was quite young.

“It’s not the same, not the same as playing them in the quarter-finals or semi-final. And I certainly think that for the younger guys now, when it’s Novak on the other side of the net, you know, really, really difficult for them to win against him, not just from the tennis side where, you know, he’s obviously exceptional, but I think from the mental side, as well, because he’s done it all, whereas a lot of the younger players coming through haven’t.”