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25 - 11 H2h . Not r complete domination , but they have played a total of 36 matches.

Most of them are completely forgettable, but those numbers do stand out. Murray had the pleasure or displeasure of playing Djokovic many times in the tail end of the tournaments and typically losing in 3 sets...or 4 sets, if we are talking about grand slams.

Murray and Djokovic are not to dissimilar though. Both guys rely on speed , tactics , a good backhand and consistency to win points.

Do you think there is anything Murray could have done to change the match up and win more of those matches? Or is it just an impossible feat and he was just unfortunate to be facing an in-form Novak on the other side of the net?

Djokovic never seem rattled by this match up , even though he was facing another physical specimen who was just as strong as determined as he was/is.
 

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I would say not. With his forehand and second serve, he achieved a lot already. How many players can achieve that much without a second serve and a weak forehand? I would say Murray had much better chances with Federer than with Djokovic (and the H2H would concur).
 

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Murray maintained a more even head to head with Djokovic in the earlier part of their career - it was really only from 2014 onwards that it became very one sided (11-8 to Djokovic up to 2013 which is just over half of their matches, then 14-3 to Djokovic from 2014 onwards). So I don't think you can look at it as Djokovic was never rattled by the matchup, it was clearly in the latter half of their rivalry that Djokovic was not troubled much by him, while in the first half they were closer matched despite Djokovic having the edge. Winning 5/12 matches played in 2011-2013 is pretty good, you wouldn't exactly expect any player to do better against Djokovic in that period (in fact Murray might have the highest winning percentage against Djokovic in that window excluding people that only played him once or twice), so at that time Murray troubled him as much as any player really.

From 2014 onwards, I think Murray never really recovered some of his physical fitness and speed - the level he got back to was still good enough to give him an advantage over the rest of the tour, but against Djokovic who had similar strengths it was more of a problem. Djokovic could handle the long rallies and still outlast Murray, which I think made a difference not just to long matches but to the overall confidence the players had facing each other. Against most players it wouldn't be a disadvantage for Murray to play lots of long rallies or games, but against Djokovic he couldn't afford that. Also at this time Djokovic's serve became more of a weapon, which made it easier to put pressure on Murray's service games. Murray did occasionally change approach and play a lot more aggressively (e.g. US Open 2014) against Djokovic but he could rarely sustain the level needed to beat Djokovic that way for more than a couple of sets. So from 2014 onward he only got wins over Djokovic when he had a significant advantage in form or freshness.

As for what Murray could have done differently, the obvious answer would be to try to be more aggressive and shorten the points, since he couldn't afford to play Djokovic at his own game. Trouble with that is that it's difficult to do on slow HC (where he often played Djokovic in 2014-2017) without all out ball-bashing, and while that can be great if things are clicking, it's horrific if it doesn't. Murray would've probably had to try to adjust to a lower percentage game most of the time rather than trying to just go for it in big finals vs Djokovic. Perhaps that's what he should have done, but then again we will never know if he would have been able to or if he was better off playing to his strengths. Other than that all I can really think is if he could have improved his mental strength against Djokovic - obviously in many matches Djokovic outplayed him but there was room for Murray to get some more wins if he'd been more clutch or not completely imploded. But Djokovic had the mental edge in the matchup in later years, similar to his matches against the Big 3.
 

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They mostly played at Djokovic strongholds in 2015-2016. Also, Djokovic was peaking harder than 2011. I am not sure that Murray would have been favoured in any year to win any of the matches that he lost in these years.

2015:
Australian Open - no explanation necessary
Indian Wells - one of Murray's worst tournaments and one of Djokovic's best
Miami - Djokovic stronghold. He also led 2-1 (only loss in 2009) prior to 2015
Roland Garros - Djokovic is much better on clay
Shanghai - Djokovic was peaking. Also led Murray 1-0 at Shanghai prior to 2015
Paris Masters - Djokovic stronghold, and one of Murray's least favourite masters

2016:
Australian Open
- see above
Madrid - see above
Roland Garros - see above
 

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The problem is this matchup is that the strengths that Murray has are also strengths of Djokovic and Djokovic arguably is a little bit better in those areas. Add the fact that Murray has weaknesses that can be exploited by Djokovic such as his second serve and forehand. Murray did well prior to 2014 to keep it close with Novak considering he arguably has no advantages over Novak except maybe his first serve and even that’s debatable due to his first serve percentage sucking sometimes. Adding weaknesses that Murray has that Djokovic doesn’t have it isn’t surprising Djokovic leads the h2h by quite a bit. Can’t forget Djokovic is clearly superior mentally to Murray as well.
 

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The problem is this matchup is that the strengths that Murray has are also strengths of Djokovic and Djokovic arguably is a little bit better in those areas. Add the fact that Murray has weaknesses that can be exploited by Djokovic such as his second serve and forehand. Murray did well prior to 2014 to keep it close with Novak considering he arguably has no advantages over Novak except maybe his first serve and even that’s debatable due to his first serve percentage sucking sometimes. Adding weaknesses that Murray has that Djokovic doesn’t have it isn’t surprising Djokovic leads the h2h by quite a bit. Can’t forget Djokovic is clearly superior mentally to Murray as well.
That's right. Djokovic does everything better, and Murray has the two glaring weaknesses that Djokovic can take advantage of: the lack of a second serve and the forehand. As I said, Murray did well to win so much playing without a second serve and the forehand that he had. Well done to him on a nice career.
 

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Murray maintained a more even head to head with Djokovic in the earlier part of their career - it was really only from 2014 onwards that it became very one sided (11-8 to Djokovic up to 2013 which is just over half of their matches, then 14-3 to Djokovic from 2014 onwards). So I don't think you can look at it as Djokovic was never rattled by the matchup, it was clearly in the latter half of their rivalry that Djokovic was not troubled much by him, while in the first half they were closer matched despite Djokovic having the edge. Winning 5/12 matches played in 2011-2013 is pretty good, you wouldn't exactly expect any player to do better against Djokovic in that period (in fact Murray might have the highest winning percentage against Djokovic in that window excluding people that only played him once or twice), so at that time Murray troubled him as much as any player really.

From 2014 onwards, I think Murray never really recovered some of his physical fitness and speed - the level he got back to was still good enough to give him an advantage over the rest of the tour, but against Djokovic who had similar strengths it was more of a problem. Djokovic could handle the long rallies and still outlast Murray, which I think made a difference not just to long matches but to the overall confidence the players had facing each other. Against most players it wouldn't be a disadvantage for Murray to play lots of long rallies or games, but against Djokovic he couldn't afford that. Also at this time Djokovic's serve became more of a weapon, which made it easier to put pressure on Murray's service games. Murray did occasionally change approach and play a lot more aggressively (e.g. US Open 2014) against Djokovic but he could rarely sustain the level needed to beat Djokovic that way for more than a couple of sets. So from 2014 onward he only got wins over Djokovic when he had a significant advantage in form or freshness.

As for what Murray could have done differently, the obvious answer would be to try to be more aggressive and shorten the points, since he couldn't afford to play Djokovic at his own game. Trouble with that is that it's difficult to do on slow HC (where he often played Djokovic in 2014-2017) without all out ball-bashing, and while that can be great if things are clicking, it's horrific if it doesn't. Murray would've probably had to try to adjust to a lower percentage game most of the time rather than trying to just go for it in big finals vs Djokovic. Perhaps that's what he should have done, but then again we will never know if he would have been able to or if he was better off playing to his strengths. Other than that all I can really think is if he could have improved his mental strength against Djokovic - obviously in many matches Djokovic outplayed him but there was room for Murray to get some more wins if he'd been more clutch or not completely imploded. But Djokovic had the mental edge in the matchup in later years, similar to his matches against the Big 3.
Interesting you say that as right at the start it was Nole completely dominating Murray. Between 2006-08 in their first four meetings Djokovic only lost one set and indeed posted a couple of bagels and breadsticks so it was not close at all despite at that same point Murray actually having some good results against Federer.

Then Andy turned it around with a couple of good wins in finals at Cinci and Miami in that period where Djokovic dipped a fair bit after his maiden slam win.

Of course the head to head has gone one way post 2013 but it's the same really for Nadal and Federer. Murray and Djokovic had only played each other once at Wimbledon aswell in a slam which is to Murray's disadvantage.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Murray's best chance would've been to not have a bad back, or at least not a worse one than Federer. But alas, it was not to be.
I don't think the back was to blame for every year.
 
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