The 2012 season may have marked the year that another classic tennis rivalry began to take shape.
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic played against each other seven times in 2012, Djokovic winning four times to extend his career head-to-head against Murray to 10-7.
Murray won two of the three matches against Djokovic on the grandest stages, winning in the 2012 US Open men’s final 7-6(10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 to give him his first career major singles title. He also beat the Serb 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals of the Olympic Games, a match the eventual gold medalist called immediately at its conclusion “probably the most emotional match I have ever played.”
Djokovic won an memorable Australian Open semifinal 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-5 and also an epic final in Shanghai 5-7, 7-6(11), 6-3, saving five match points en route. Djokovic also won the Sony Ericsson Open final 6-1, 7-6 (4) and also in round-robin play at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London by a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 margin.
Curiously, however, it was Djokovic’s 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (2) win over Murray in the semifinal of the Italian Open in Rome in 2011 that received an honorable mention in the new book THE GREATEST TENNIS MATCHES OF ALL TIME by Steve Flink, available on amazon.com here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Greatest-Tennis-Matches-Time/dp/0942257936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354541881&sr=8-1&keywords=the+greatest+tennis+matches+of+all+time
Wrote Flink of this match, “The Serbian was in the midst of an astonishing campaign in 2011. He had won six consecutive tournaments and thirty-six matches in a row as he headed into this encounter with Murray. Djokovic had crushed Murray in straight sets at the start of the season to win his second Australian Open crown on hard courts, as Murray suffered a third loss in a major final. But this time around Murray pushed Djokovic to the hilt on clay. In the final set, Murray served for the match, leading 5-4, 30-15, only to double fault. Three times in that game, Murray stood two points away from taking the match, but Djokovic made some stupendous returns and eventually came through in a final set tie-break.”
As the 2013 season approaches, the tennis world should certainly settle in for more blockbuster Murray-Djokovic matches on the biggest stages of the sport.