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Discussion Starter #1
Andy Murray could have a good chunk of grand slams if it weren't for Djokovic ... and Federer, but mostly Djokovic.

25-11 is the H2H.

Murray had two key victories in Wimbledon and US Open, but outside of that you always felt it was going to be an inevitable 4 set loss for Murray, straights affair and or a close loss for Murray.

The matchup itself is probably on the bottom of the list for interesting match ups, in my opinion...

Thing is Murray never really seemed to be able to crack the Djokovic code. It became pretty predictable post 2014 -


Federer was in the same boat vs. Nadal until 2017 , when he took backhand on the rise and changed his strategy.

Murray for the most part has done the same strategy vs. Novak , no big changes over the years... every once in a blue moon he would ball bash for a bit... but otherwise it was same old same old.

Do you think Murray could have changed anything tactics wise vs. Novak? Or was Djokovic just too good for Murray?
 

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Most of the time the match-up in slam finals toned down to monotone baseline botting and both were evenly matched, he just didn't have Djokovic's superior mentality/self belief.

I reference some of the key moments of the 2015 and 2016 AO Finals:





Link: ^3 straight errors from 15-30 2 pts from the set Gyazo

Tennis is a make or miss sport, a do-it-yourself game.
 
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They came up together as exactly same aged peers but the difference was always that one of them served, returned & struck the FH/BH better & that was the Serb. Pretty even at ‘Murray’s home turf’ WB when crowd was overwhelmingly pro Murray but not so sure if Murray would have the upper hand on Grass after 2013.
 

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This is purely down to the difference in luck between the two. Before Murray got back surgery at the end of 2013 it was very even, if anything Andy actually has Pushovic’s number.
After Murray’s back surgery he lost a load of fitness and Djokovic vultured a load of wins by just outlasting him, like the vulture he is.

2016 was more even again once The King was back to his best.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@Budadiii is saying it is mental, while others are saying its is technical.

Id argue it has been due to the Murray serve. That he hasn't won. Djokovic hardly has a John Isner serve , but it is really good at placement and he can get a few free points or forced errors on the first serve.

In comparison Murray has a good first serve, but it really has never been that consistent and he has to rely on us 2nd serve which will put him at a disadvantage, since it generally just rolls over the net.

I wonder if things would have been any different if Lendl would have stayed coach.
 
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A lot of things to unpack here. Firstly the modern surface issue: modern hard courts favoured Novak as Murray prefers the slicker, quicker lower bouncing courts that cover up the second serve problem and add pop to the second serve, slice and forehand. I think if these courts predominated the hard court hth would be closer. This was also evidenced on grass.

The elephant in the room is the back. This prevented Murray from playing and training on clay so he was pretty much a none factor until '15. Murray understandably wanted to avoid surgery for a number of years as it might have effectively ended his career or slam chances in his early to mid 20s. The interim year of '14 was particularly damaging for Murray's HTHs as he was nowhere near his pre surgery level. In my view, he never returned to that level despite some notable achievements and big victories against top players including Djokovic. After working with Lendl, Murray's improved mental strength and cross court forehand had made this rivalry much closer and more exciting. Since the back became an issue in the early 2010s, Murray couldn't improve the second serve as he couldn't rotate enough to create the spin necessary for a top second serve. This put a ceiling on his potential; although it was a higher one with the improved CCFH.
It would be remiss to omit the improvements Nole made: the improvement in the serve and net game under Becker and further improvement to the serve under Ivanisevic (this one maybe not relevant here though?). I also think Nole improved his slice which made it harder for Murray to elicit errors in the interminable CC BH exchanges; particularly on the lower bouncing surfaces.
 

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The problem is that both played similar games but Faker was better at nearly everything along with Murray having clear holes like his second serve and clearly weaker forehand. Murray also had mental lapses which Faker took advantage of. Murray’s ass first serve percentage also didn’t help. Murray has more variety and abilities but didn’t use them effectively against Faker.
 

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Just too good, simple as that. Djokovic has a better record against Murray because he's a better player, same reason he's won 6 Grand Slams for every 1 Murray won, same reason he has a better H2H record than Murray against pretty much every player on tour.

There's always a chance that if you change up your strategy you can do gain an advantage, but if there is any possible strategy neither Murray nor his team ever thought of it. Simpler explanation is that that strategy doesn't exist.
 

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Whenever Murray would assert himself as just about the best (or equal best) current player then some injury would come along to halt his career momentum, and it would take about 2 years to work up to that level of belief and formline again. Novak had the mental BO5 edge on him at the AO, but Murray with a fit stretch behind him could work his way to the summit. Murray's runs from mid 2012 to mid 2013 and in 2016 were impressive in general non big-3 terms. Put him up against top-gear Novak though and he loses.
 
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no big changes over the years... every once in a blue moon he would ball bash for a bit... but otherwise it was same old same old.
This one is a clear example and quite rare occurence of Murray hammering his forehand in the second set. Impressive to see but he was cooked after 3 sets.
 

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I’m going with the unpopular opinion that it’s mental. Sure, DJ has a better forehand and 2nd serve. But Murr has a great slice, better volleys / smash and more variety overall.
Once DJ started renting free space in Murr’s head their matchup became utterly boring. With more self belief and different tactics I think Murr could’ve won at least 2 more slams against DJ.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Really good thought out responses. Thank you everyone. Great analysis.
 

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A lot of things to unpack here. Firstly the modern surface issue: modern hard courts favoured Novak as Murray prefers the slicker, quicker lower bouncing courts that cover up the second serve problem and add pop to the second serve, slice and forehand. I think if these courts predominated the hard court hth would be closer. This was also evidenced on grass.

The elephant in the room is the back. This prevented Murray from playing and training on clay so he was pretty much a none factor until '15. Murray understandably wanted to avoid surgery for a number of years as it might have effectively ended his career or slam chances in his early to mid 20s. The interim year of '14 was particularly damaging for Murray's HTHs as he was nowhere near his pre surgery level. In my view, he never returned to that level despite some notable achievements and big victories against top players including Djokovic. After working with Lendl, Murray's improved mental strength and cross court forehand had made this rivalry much closer and more exciting. Since the back became an issue in the early 2010s, Murray couldn't improve the second serve as he couldn't rotate enough to create the spin necessary for a top second serve. This put a ceiling on his potential; although it was a higher one with the improved CCFH.
It would be remiss to omit the improvements Nole made: the improvement in the serve and net game under Becker and further improvement to the serve under Ivanisevic (this one maybe not relevant here though?). I also think Nole improved his slice which made it harder for Murray to elicit errors in the interminable CC BH exchanges; particularly on the lower bouncing surfaces.
Sorry but u don’t achieve the DCGM since “modern HC favor u” but because u can adapt to every condition of HC around the world, speed & bounce wise. Murray should b grateful he only faced Novak when he was still developing his Grass game w/o playing subsequently & that the USO12 final gave Murray an extra day rest due to Novak/Ferrer weather delayed SF but would give him the nod over just about anyone else in his prime at AO not named Novak. Btw, Goran has thus far been a bust for Novak & only Balkan loyalty helps keep him employed.
 

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King is just superior in every way and it shows in their H2H, slam tally and slam final record. It is funny how they came onto the scene together (given they're born just a week apart) and the British press really tried to make Murray happen as the next big thing but that sure blew up in their faces in embarrassing fashion. There are a lot of times King saved tennis but denying Murray an AO title with that 4-0 H2H in AO finals (plus the win in the 2012 semifinal) might top the list of his heroic accomplishments.
 

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This is purely down to the difference in luck between the two. Before Murray got back surgery at the end of 2013 it was very even, if anything Andy actually has Pushovic’s number.
After Murray’s back surgery he lost a load of fitness and Djokovic vultured a load of wins by just outlasting him, like the vulture he is.

2016 was more even again once The King was back to his best.
Luck? You cannot be serious. Djokovic has more talent on his toe nails than Murray ever had.
 

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This is purely down to the difference in luck between the two. Before Murray got back surgery at the end of 2013 it was very even, if anything Andy actually has Pushovic’s number.
After Murray’s back surgery he lost a load of fitness and Djokovic vultured a load of wins by just outlasting him, like the vulture he is.

2016 was more even again once The King was back to his best.
King of what? Playing like ten million tournaments in 2016 in order to vulture the number one ranking.Thats why his career is down the toilet and back stuffed up.
 
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