Novak Djokovic: The Difference Today Against Andy Murray Was His Serve And My Serve
by Tom Gainey | August 17th, 2015, 2:17 pm

It was a tough way to end a 30-match Masters win streak but that’s what happened to Novak Djokovic as his run came to an yesterday to rival Andy Murray 64, 46, 63 in a 3-hour marathon Canadian Open final.

“You never like losing, but any streak comes to an end,” said Djokovic who hadn’t lost in a Masters since the Shanghai semifinals. “I’m fine, I lost to a better player today. I lost to Andy, who I know very well.”

Djokovic, who just 66% and 48% on first and second serve, respectively, credited his poor serving day and a great serving day for Murray.

“I thought what made the difference was his serve and my serve,” said Djokovic who was broken four times and had just 5 aces to 2 double faults. “I didn’t serve well the first set and a half. After, I just wasn’t able to serve.

“But not taking anything away from him, from his victory. He deserved it. He stepped in, played some great shots. Most of all the moments when he needed to, he served very, very well.”

Djokovic had won eight straight against Murray since 2013 Wimbledon and 10 consecutively on hardcourts. He still leads his childhood rival 19-9 overall.

Despite the loss, Djokovic remains in good spirits as this tries to win his first Cincinnati title.

“But it was a great week all in all for me,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect obviously coming in, first hard court tournament. I know people always expect me to do well, but I try to be modest with my expectations and just kind of see how each day goes. When I reflect on the week, of course it’s positive. I’m playing better as the tournament progressed, and hopefully I can continue in the same style in Cincinnati.”

Djokovic is a 4-time runner-up in Cincinnati. He’ll play the winner Gilles Muller and Benoit Paire Tuesday night or Wednesday.

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21 Comments for Novak Djokovic: The Difference Today Against Andy Murray Was His Serve And My Serve

Ben Pronin Says:

Sounds about right. Murray definitely came up with big serves when he needed whereas it seemed like Djokovic was hitting a lot of second serves during the big points. His first serve percentage was also way lower than his average. Off the ground I thought both guys were pretty close. Some weird mistakes here and there but I think that comes with the territory of playing a guy who’s just about as consistent as it gets (this really applies to both of them).

To me, this is way better than losing to Tsonga in the second round 2 and 2. Plenty of positives. I’m happy for Murray for a change. He played well, beat quality opponents on the way, and earned an overdue victory over Djokovic. I really think Djokovic’s dominance over Murray this year has to be one of the quieter surprises of the year.

Anyways, I hope he wins Cincy only because he’s never done so but I’d rather he get another US Open even more.

MMT Says:

Good result for Murray – and like you pointed out, Djokovic’s improved serve is frequently underrated. His serving is outstanding, and on top of his already amazing return of serve, when he serves well, he’s very difficult to beat. Murray, on the other hand, still has (in my opinion) the worst serve of the so-called big 4, so stepping it up a notch (particularly on the second serve) will make him more competitive for the biggest titles.

jane Says:

the stats i saw said novak had 59% first serves for the match.

andy tied fed with 4 titles this year with the canada win.

thought this tweet was interesting…

Carole Bouchard ‏@carole_bouchard 15h15 hours ago
“Everybody wants me and Novak to dislike each other and people always try to stir things up between us,” said Murray, who says they get on anyway…

i assume by “everybody” he means the press!

Daniel Says:

Murray second serve down 15-40 when serving for the match was very weak. It was so weak and short that Djoko had to come in, generate power with his BH and unusually miss the return o the net. That ball could have changed everything. But overall Andy had some good serves and was more consistent throughout out. And he was very aggressive, his BH was explosive cross court sometimes but I felt both hardly ever went for BH DTL winners, knowing that they have the best two handed BH’s.

Curios to see how thinks will shape up in Cincy. Would want to see Murray ay Fed in semis. If Murray gets that win than he will have beaten Djoko and Fed as his prep for US Open which would be an even greater confidence boost for him. Even if helloes the final. Getting a win over Fed would be great for him to basically remove all pressure in USO.

Also that match could have a say in #2 rankings.

Want Fed to play Nadal as well and see how Nadal willplay that one, if he will play same level as of late or if seeing Fed across the net he will find his level again. He has Raonic as a potential R16 which could be trick in a fast court if Raonic is on a good serving day, outthink he is rusty and Rafa will get through. Also think Fed will get through but not playing in HC for a while upsets can always happen.

jane Says:

also, raonic stopped the possible fedal match at IW. grrr, i hope we get to see them play too; it’d be interesting to see the dynamic right now.

murray has fish first up at cincy. fish destroyed troicki today 2 and 2 and has often done well at cincy, but he’s also a spent force methinks.

so nice to hear people giving credit to novak’s usually strong serve. when o’shaunnesy did his analysis of him post-wimbledon, he emphasized this through the numbers.

yesterday the first wasn’t firing as well.

but both andy and novak generated – and saved – a boatload of break points against each other. given that they’re both such great returners, they put so much pressure on each other’s serves.

as ben notes, andy’s backhand was more effective than nole’s yesterday.

Margot Says:

Andy was very aggressive than I’ve seen him for a long time. My comms were saying this was a huge factor. He’s working with Amelie and Jonas on this, his volleying and his second serve.
Paying off.

jalep Says:

The Fedal lurking for the 3rd round – thinking Rafa can still be considered the favorite because of that h2h, even though Rafa has not been at his best level.

Andy and Nole are set to play the quarter final. Daniel has a good point about Murray if he beats Nole again, then beats Rafa or Federer, Murray would definitely be my pick for US Open. That’s a big confidence boost and Andy is already looking the strongest.

Jock-KatH Says:

Andy’s backhand is usually better than Nole’s – usually Nole does everything else better – just not yesterday.

jane Says:

“Andy and Nole are set to play the quarter final.”

jalep i believe novak and andy are on opposite sides of the draw and cannot meet before the finals at cincy?

novak could meet stan in the quarters though.

murray’s got a good quarter actually.

jane Says:

“Andy’s backhand is usually better than Nole’s”

be interesting to see a statistical analysis.
i am not sure whose is better.

Jock-KatH Says:

Daniel – Yes – Want to see Rafa v Fed – it would be “Shakespearean” – significant/might be sad??

Daniel Says:

The way I see it Andy is in a better place right bow due to his win over Djoko. He can even aford to lose in Cincy with no harm. Except losing to Federer again. For him best case is get the win over Fed in semis in either win or lose not much difderence evennof it is to Djoko. Because will enter USO wirh a Masters title, victory over Djoko and victory over Fed. exorcising his late demons. Only win a Slam as next target.

Fed needs to beat Nadla in Quarters. He can’t afford to lose this potential match as everybody is getting a piece of Rafa, he is the only one left and he lost last 5. This is hos prefered sirface where he won 6 out of last 10 titles so he needs this win.

Nadal needs to beat anybody, any top 10. Preferably Fed, Murray and Djoko😜

Djoko althogh number 1 and favorie for USO needs this Masters as well. The only one he doesn’t have and he wouldn’t want to enter another USO without a Masters in USO series. He can lose it but the best message he can take is win this specially since he will paly only one of Fed/Murray/Nadal. Stan and Berdych still we don’t know if they will be there to fave him so he can ger another open draw like Montreal.

SG1 Says:

If Federer loses to Nadal on a hard court now, I will be completely shocked!

Margot Says:

Disagree Kat. Andy volleys better than Nole. Much better touch. Doesn’t damn well use it enough tho.

Jock-KatH Says:

You may well be right, Margot, just haven’t seen enuf volleying for that to penetrate my wee brain.

PS: I sent a so-called link on the other thread but it didn’t “light-up” – it goes into Fed.-Andy and who will be no.2 at USO… question is what if they end up with exactly same points???

Michael Says:

Novak is right. The key difference between victory and defeat in that particular match was Andy’s serve and he did find the first serves in the right moments. There was a game in the third set when Novak had so much break points going abegging mainly due to the serving prowess of Andy. And as a surprise package, even the second serve of Andy which remains his weakest link had enormous depth,spin and placement which was difficult to attack. If only Andy can maintain this serving standard which is extraordinary, he can be a bigger threat in Majors too.

But Novak need not be discomfited by this loss. This is much better than losing to Gulbis in the quarter finals where Novak won a match which he was teetering on the brink. Who knows ? Losing here must have been a blessing in disguise for Cincinnati where he has never won despite making four finals. And if he goes on to win that tournament this year he makes a Golden master series collection which will be another feather in his already well decorated cap !!

Gypsy Gal Says:

Michael some of us are actually fans of other players too,and would also like to see someone else win something too if thats OK?….

Michael Says:

Alison, Nobody can prevent that happening. Isn’t it ? Howsoever one may wish the deserving will always win with few exceptions.

I for one will not be dismayed if somebody else wins the title other than Roger and Novak. You cannot be just winning everything that is before you that will make the Sport predictable and eventually boring. If Rafa or Andy wins titles, I will be happy too except that I would feel for Novak or Roger. In the end, I am a lover of this sport more than the individual players who are just passing moon for me. The World celebrated Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Sampras, Becker, Edberg, Agassi etc. Now they are gone and the Tennis world has mostly forgotten them except that their names will always have a pride of place in Tennis history.

NK Says:

The way Fed and Nadal are playing today, I would go out on a limb and say Nadal cannot beat Federer(on any surface). Yes, Nadal “owns” federer and has beaten him five straight times on hard courts. But things have changed. Federer’s new racket and improved net play are the reasons Federer will have more depth and zing to his shots, which will trouble Nadal.

Then again, Federer might walk on to the court feeling defeated even before a single point has been played-:)

elina Says:

The only thing that will trouble Nadal is Nadal himself as has been the case for almost two years now.

However there were some positive take aways from his play in Montreal and a match with Federer might just be what the doctor ordered even on one of the fastest courts in tennis.

NK Says:

“The only thing that will trouble Nadal is Nadal himself as has been the case for almost two years now.”

Ironically I was going to say the same thing about Federer, who right now is clearly a much better player in every department than Nadal. The new racket has virtually helped Federer reinvent himself, and on the faster courts in Cincinnati, Federer should have no trouble disposing off Nadal.

Then again…

Top story: Rafael Nadal Not Sure About Playing The US Open