Novak Djokovic is all smiles today after collecting his first title since Canada in beating rival Andy Murray 63, 57, 64 to win his second straight Doha title.
“Best scenario I could ask for for beginning of the season,” Djokvoic said. “Playing all five matches in this tournament and then three hours against No. 1 of the world, biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match is something that definitely can serve as a positive incentive for what’s coming up in Australia.
“He’s such a great defender and he is fighting so much and always gets the ball back. All the way to the last shot I didn’t know if I won the match. It was really, really thrilling performance from both of us. Just a great way to start the year.”
Djokovic, however, blew three match points while serving for the title at 5-4 in the second.
“Obviously I’ve wanted and wished to finish the match earlier,” he said. “Even the two sets that we played went almost two hours. Very physical battle, as it always is. Kind of dragged each other all the way to our limits.
“It’s only the beginning of the season, so we had a little laugh at the net actually about it. We both felt like if every match we’re going to play against each other is going to be this way this season, we’re going to have a fun time.”
Djokovic also avenges a loss to Murray in their last meeting in the title match of the ATP Finals. He now leads 25-11 over the Scot.
“Playing against Andy somehow it feels like playing the mirror image of you because we have very similar styles of the game,” he said. “He has a bigger serve and we have certain elements maybe in the game that one has better than the other. Generally looking, where are both baseline players. We both hit the ball quite flat. Maybe I play with more spin from the forehand.”
The title was Djokovic’s 67th of his career. He’ll go in as a No. 2 seed at the Australian Open. If he wins his seventh title there, he could also return to No. 1 if Murray doesn’t make the semifinals.
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