“He’s the world No 1 and I’ve got a metal hip,” Andy Murray joked ahead of his fourth round clash at the Madrid Open. He will play Novak Djokovic for the first time in five years with their last clash on clay coming six years ago. The head to head has been dominated by Djokovic throughout with a 25-11 lead to the Serbian so far.
There was a lot of criticism over Murray getting his wildcard to Madrid at a time when he is far from his best and seems unlikely to hit those heights again. He has silenced a few of the doubters with two strong wins, adding a three set win against Denis Shapovalov to the one against an admittedly rusty Dominic Thiem in round one. “My movement has been so much better than where it was at the beginning of the year and it makes a huge difference to my whole game, it allows me to make different decisions on the court. My movement won me that match tonight.” he said on what has changed for him.
2022 hasn’t been a great year for Djokovic so far with the No. 1 hanging on to his top spot in the rankings despite failing to win a tournament so far. He will hope to play himself into better form here and in Rome ahead of a decisive French Open when it comes to the grand slam count. “[It was] just generally [a] very, very good performance. I’m very pleased, considering that up to today I was not playing my best tennis in the few tournaments that I played this year and still kind of finding my rhythm, finding my groove.” he said after beating Gael Monfils in straight sets in his opener.
Djokovic has looked sloppier against players more capable of hitting him off the court, something that doesn’t apply here.. Even Murray at his best has struggled in this matchup and so you’d expect that it will be even tougher in a slog on clay, even if the Brit is moving the best on court for a long time.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets