• ATP Tour

Djokovic: Murray deserves 'big-four' tag

ESPN staff
August 15, 2012
Novak Djokovic will aim to defend his US Open crown later this month © PA Photos

Novak Djokovic insists Olympic gold medallist Andy Murray has earned the right to be included in the 'big four' who are "winning 90 percent of all the major tournaments" in a "golden era" for tennis.

Djokovic, a five-time grand slam winner, has developed fierce rivalries with fellow tennis superstars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in recent years. But the Serbian also believes Murray - who is searching for his first grand slam title - must be part of the discussion over the game's elite.

"You have four players who are I think winning 90 percent of all the major tournaments that you have on the tour," Djokovic said.

"I mean, so many titles and so much competition going on and so many great rivalries, great matches, history and all these things that are, I think, making this era a golden era.

"There were different kinds of talk with the rivalries between Roger and Rafa, between me and Rafa, me and Roger, and then Andy. So there is really no story that I can say, 'Okay, that's the right one'.

"Andy was always part of that group of the top players. For about the last four, five years he's been in top four in the world. Now he has won Olympic Games. He's played couple of grand slam finals, so he deserves to be up there."

Murray was edged out by Federer in this year's Wimbledon final, and was reduced to tears while making his speech after the defeat. However, Djokovic says the Brit deserves praise for bouncing back to claim gold at London 2012 at the All England Club.

"It was definitely impressive performance from him at Wimbledon and at the Olympic Games even more," said Djokovic.

"He always has pressure when he plays in London, in Britain. It's huge pressure on him. But I guess he's going to agree ... that over the years you get that necessary experience to know how to cope with that certain pressure.

"It's part of your life. It's part of your sport. It's something that drives you as well; that gets you to the certain level of intensity that is, I think, necessary for you to have in order to perform your best on the major tournaments."

Defending champion Murray may face Djokovic in the semi-finals of this week's Cincinnati Open, where the two played in last year's final.

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