• Australian Open, Day 13

Djokovic: Murray pushes me to the limit

ESPN staff
January 26, 2013
Novak Djokovic described his rivalry with Andy Murray as 'special' © Getty Images

Novak Djokovic insists he will not have an unfair advantage after enjoying an extra day's rest ahead of his Australian Open final showdown with Andy Murray.

While Djokovic sailed past David Ferrer inside 90 minutes on Thursday, Murray needed five sets to see off Roger Federer on Friday, the first time he had beaten the Swiss at a grand slam.

But Djokovic is confident Murray will have fully recovered by Sunday as the world No. 1 bids to avenge his defeat in the US Open final last September. And with the pair so evenly-matched in recent encounters, Djokovic predicts another gruelling clash.

"Andy, yes, he has played a five set match against Roger [on Friday]," Djokovic said. "But aside that, he hasn't been really tested the whole tournament. And also he's considered as one of the physically strongest and fittest guys around. So I'm sure he's going to be fit for the final.

"Considering the fact that every time we played in last probably six, seven encounters, it was always a long matches, physically very demanding, going three sets and five sets in grand slams. So I guess we have to expect something similar to happen, long rallies, and I'm ready for that.

"We pushed each other to the limit physically, mentally, emotionally, and that's why we have a great rivalry in this moment."

While Djokovic admits he was hugely disappointed by the defeat to Murray at Flushing Meadows, he did not dwell on the defeat as he bounced back, winning the ATP World Tour Finals and ending the season as world No. 1.

"Maybe few years ago it would take me much longer than it does now," he admitted. "I think with all these years of experience playing on the top level and playing many matches that were deciding, you know, title on the grand slam events, I think that necessary experience helped me to overcome any kind of loss or disappointment that I feel.

"I feel it after the match, there's no question about it. There's a certain, let's say regret, for not being able to come out as a winner, but it goes away after few days only. Because tennis is very demanding sport and you have to turn a new page and you have to already play the week after, two weeks after."

Djokovic, who is just seven days younger than Murray, believes his rivalry with the Scot is superior to the ones he enjoys with Federer or Rafael Nadal because the pair have known each other for so long.

"I think it's special because we are the same age", Djokovic said. "There's only a week difference between us. We know each other since we were 11, 12 years old. I guess that adds something very special to our rivalry.

"As we developed, of course we improved our games, we improved as athletes, as people, and it's nice, you know, to see somebody that you grew up with doing so well."

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