Australian Open 2011: Roger Federer Leads the Field Into Melbourne
Andy Murray, newly ranked at No. 5 in the world, chose the Perth-based event for his preparations, and defeated John Isner, Nicolas Mahut and Polito Starace all in straight sets.
He did not, though, get the chance to compete against the top dog in the tournament, No. 3 Novak Djokovic. With neither Serbia nor Great Britain reaching the playoffs, there was no head-to-head confrontation between two potential challengers for the Australian title.
However Murray and Djokovic have been practising together on a regular basis out of competition. Murray pointed out that this was not unusual for the two friends ahead of a Slam event. “Hopefully, we can help each other ahead of the tournament.”
Djokovic, who also won all three of his matches in the Hopman Cup, clearly remained buoyed by the confidence he gained from an excellent end-of-year run that included an outstanding performance for Serbia in the Davis Cup final. In Perth, he claimed “The last couple of months I’ve been playing maybe my best tennis…everything seems to be working.”
Murray plays one more competitive match—albeit an exhibition—at the Kooyong Classic on Thursday, while Djokovic is sticking to the Melbourne Park courts. But what of the other top contenders?
Read whole article here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/5...rce=newsletter
More quotes from Nole regarding his current relationship with Murray:
“Actually, before I was kind of letting it [their friendship] go and letting Andy feel what he wants to feel about our relationship, as friends — if he thinks we should be friends and hang out more or not,” Djokovic said. “That was more or less on him because I always liked him as a person and we grew up together playing the junior events. But then we basically came up to the top of tennis at the same time and were rivals. At some stage we were playing a lot of matches against each other and now we haven’t played for a long time.
“Right now I feel we are again getting closer because we grew up and this period of three, four years, being at the top of men’s tennis, has kind of passed and we know that OK, we are rivals, that’s obvious.
“But off the court it doesn’t mean that we can’t have dinner or play golf. I definitely wish him to have it [a first grand-slam victory] because I think he deserves it. He has all he needs to have in order to be a champion.”
Nole and Andy have been practicing together for the whole pre-AO season as they did last year in IW and Miami too. At the WTF Murray was asked who he would not rather play in the tournament and he said Djokovic because they were good friends.
Do you see a rivalry/friendship developing like Fedal?
They are the same age and they are always in the conversation together being practically the only real challengers to the duopoly of Federer and Nadal. But are they becoming too friendly?
And how exactly are they helping each other out?