Although he played with shades of his 2012 form, Andy Murray knows that Djokovic was “physically” superior to him in their quarter-final meeting on Wednesday.
“I’d say definitely physically he was fresher, but towards the end I tried to hang in as best I could in the fourth set,” said Murray. “The pace of my serve slowed significantly towards the end of the third set. Over the course of the match he was a little bit more solid than me.”
The blockbuster quarter-final, which headlined the night session at Arthur Ashe stadium, saw the two former champions split tiebreakers in the opening two sets before Djokovic stormed through the remaining two sets 6-2, 6-4 to push his lead in the head-to-head series to 13-8.
“I mean, I played well. I mean, especially the first couple of sets was some good tennis. I played a poor tiebreak in the first set definitely. I didn’t play a very good tiebreak. Yeah, I was down in the first set and I fought back. I was down in the second set and a break and I fought back. So, you know, I fought hard. I played some good tennis. But, yeah, it wasn’t enough.”
Seven of the 21 encounters between Djokovic and Murray have gone the distance, and while this match lasted only four sets, Murray was not shy to admit that his clashes with the world No. 1 take a toll on the body.
“Physically it’s extremely demanding,” said Murray. “We have had a lot of tough battles, mainly in the slams, but even outside of them, as well. We have played some finals in Miami when it’s been brutally hot. Finals in Shanghai when it was three hours for three sets. Most of the time when you play against him you need to be on it physically and mentally for a long period of time if you want to beat him.”
While Murray was not particularly proud of his fitness issues this past fortnight, he does takes several positives from his high-quality tennis, particularly against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Djokovic.
“I played well. Especially in the first couple of sets there was some good tennis. It’s extremely late. I’m tired. I don’t feel particularly proud right now. I feel disappointed. But, I think there was some good tennis. Hopefully I can build on that.”