I am a fan of tennis as well as an observer. During the US Open last year, it dawned on me that Djokovic vs. Murray was my favorite match-up of the Big Four. My reason is that I like the type of points they play against each other, and I love their ability to break back and rally in a given set. They are not clones. Murray has a bit more feel, and Novak is better on the forehand wing. However, they are both so quick that no point or lead seems safe. It is just an enjoyable match-up from my perspective.
2014: 4-0 or 0-4
Murray won several big matches versus Novak Djokovic in 2012 and 2013. He won an Olympic semifinal match that helped Murray claim gold and combined with a loss to Delpo pushed Novak out of winning a medal. Murray won is first Grand Slam title defeating Novak in 5 sets at the 2012 US Open final. He then won Wimbledon in 2013 delighting the UK. Murray entered 2014 coming off of back surgery. In 2014, Djokovic won 4 matches vs. Murray winning 9 of 10 sets they played. I do think recent history can impact both players’ confidence level. Murray has to feel like his 6-0, 6-1 loss to Roger Federer in London was an eternity ago. Djokovic however will be confident heading into this match because of his recent dominance versus Murray. Djokovic is always a hard opponent, but when he is confident he can be nearly unbeatable (see 2011).
What to Expect
Since both men play in a similar manner, I don’t think either will mind if their preferred style of play and preferred patterns prevail. So expect each player to test the other’s second serve, movement, and nerve. There should be a lot of points in which a player seems to be on the defensive only to use great speed to reverse the momentum of the rally. I do think Novak will also test Murray’s forehand and attempt to be positioned closer to the baseline than Murray. That may be the key to the match. Can Novak establish a slightly better court positioning than Murray? If so, Djokovic will probably win. If not, Murray may win in his 4th trip to the final. Djokovic has a chance to give himself the best possible chance in another campaign to end a year ranked #1. Andy Murray can win a 3rd major and perhaps set himself up to make an assault on the top ranking and achieve #1 for the first time in his career later this year. This should be a great match between two future hall of fame players.
My Prediction: Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4