Andy Murray ended his bitch-boy status to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Sunday, beating the Serb 6-3, 6-3, and capping his 29th birthday with the Italian Open title in Rome, the first British man to win it since 1931.
“It’s mostly great players that have won this event, so I’m very proud to have my name on the trophy,” Murray said. “Today against Novak it was nice. I know he didn’t play his best today. But there were still some tough moments for me in the second set. I saved the break points well and held strong. And overall it was a great week for me. I didn’t lose a set.”
The win broke a streak of Djokovic winning 12 of his last 13 meetings with Murray, and the Brit never defeating the Serb on clay.
“I had a long couple of weeks, especially the last couple of days,” said Djokovic. “I knew it’s going to be very hard for me, an uphill ride against Andy today, who was playing throughout the week at a very high level. To compete with him in long exchanges and rallies that we do have in our encounters, they require a lot more energy and better performance from my side which didn’t happen.”
Djokovic blew up early and often emotionally during the match, throwing his racquet and complaining about the rains and the court conditions.
“Not taking anything away from Andy’s win. On the contrary, I think he deserved to win and deserved to win the entire tournament, because he was the best player. He was the player that played in the best form throughout the entire tournament.”
Murray won his first title of the year (12th at the Masters level) and improved to 36-19 in career finals. He also returns to the No. 2 ranking (and seeding for the French Open) which means he won’t see his rival Djokovic until the French Open finals.
“Any time you beat the best player in the world it is a big win,” Murray said. “And I know that every time I play him I need to play a great match if I am to win.”
Djokovic dropped to 64-27 in finals, and 5-1 in finals this year. The loss snapped his 17-match win streak against Top 10 players and he missed his chance at becoming the first pro tennis to reach the $100,000,000 prize money mark.
“My confidence level is high because of the matches, many matches that I have won this year on this surface and all the other surfaces,” Djokovic said.
“So I don’t feel that I’m doubtful or I’m shaken up by this loss. Of course, you don’t like to lose, but, you know, you’ve got to congratulate the better player that played well today, Andy, and he deserved to win. I move on to Paris knowing that I’m going to approach it hopefully healthy and refreshed and then givng it my all, as always, in Paris.”
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