Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray In The French Open Final, Who’s The Pick?

by Sean Randall | June 4th, 2016, 2:28 pm

For the third time in month good buddies Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray meet in a clay final. This one, though, is the biggest of all the clay finals – the French Open.

Djokovic needs this one badly. He’s back in his fourth final and third straight. In 2014, he was up a set against Rafael Nadal. In 2015, he was up a set against Stan Wawrinka. In 2016…well.

Murray wasn’t thought of a clay courter, but thanks in part to the decline of Rafael Nadal and the lack of any true clay prospects of late other than Dominic Thiem, the Scot finds himself in his first French Open final.

(Let’s be real, would Murray really have beaten a Nadal back in the day?)

Murray is also on a roll, winning his last 11 which includes a dominant performance over Djokovic in the Rome final last month.

Murray hasn’t looked quite that strong in Paris. He was a few points from being sent home early by Radek Stepanek then struggled against unknown French wildcard Mathias Bourgue. But he’s bounced back since, losing only two sets in good wins over Richard Gasquet and defending champion Stan Wawrinka Friday.

Plus, Murray’s been on schedule. While there’s been rain, it really hasn’t impacted or inconvenienced him like it has the man across the net Sunday.

Djokovic was saddled with having to play four straight days. Almost the reverse of what happened five years ago when he had four days off week two after Fabio Fognini opted out of his quarterfinal.

Luckily, Djokovic had three fairly straightforward matches and then the customary day off. So physically, I think he should be fine.

Mentally, however, he has to be a little drained. The French has been his focus all year. Even for a few years. And to have the rain plus the added pressure of avoiding long matches has to weigh on him.

Meanwhile for Murray, unlike Wimbledon and even the Australian Open where he keeps losing in that final, Roland Garros really has never been on the radar for him. And right now few are expecting him to win (except maybe me?) and there’s little shame if he doesn’t.

For Djokovic, he needs to serve well, pound away at those groundstrokes maybe ease up on those dropshots. And he leads this series 23-10, winning four of five on the clay and 12 of their last 14 overall.

“He’s one of the most dedicated tennis players on tour. He always seeks to improve his game and get better,” said Djokovic. “It’s pretty nice that our rivalry has evolved over the years.”

For Murray, attack, attack, attack. And bring Novak in then force him to hit that shaky smash of his.

So I think he’ll come out firing, free-swinging and like last year when he pushed Novak, I think he somehow does it again. Only this time he wins.
The pick: Murray in five

NBC has the coverage at 9am ET. I think if there is rain – and why not? – I think that will help Murray and bring him back to the match in Rome.

Though I picked Murray, I don’t see him winning in straight sets. That would be the biggest surprise. However, I could see Novak just blowing out Andy in 3. Novak’s got that kind of firepower to do just that. I just don’t think it goes that way.

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54 Comments for Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray In The French Open Final, Who’s The Pick?

nits Says:

I agree with the pick but in a 5 setter Djokovic will win over Murray because of his experience & mentality. So I am looking for a 4 setter murray win or a 3 set Djokovic win

Van Persie Says:

Djoko will win in 4

Willow Says:

3, 4, 5, Dont care, as long as Murray wins ….

Giles Says:

Strange that Sean picking Andy to win. Hope he’s not trying to jinx him. Lol

George Says:

@Sean: You inspired me to pick a winner. Tennis is not my profession, but my lay opinion is that it will be Djokovic in 3.

Dave Says:

If the recent matches have gone longer, Murray seems to be the one that runs out of gas first. Example 2015 Australian Open final. Last year at the French Open in the 5th set, Murray lost 6 to 1 and didn’t put up much of a fight. The only time In one of their longer matches where I saw Novak run out of gas first, was the 2012 U.S. Open where Nole spent so much energy coming back from 2 sets to love down and in the 5th couldn’t stay with Murray any longer. I think now, Nole has more endurance than Murray. I don’t see Djokovic losing 3 out of the first 4 sets to lose the match. So if it goes 5, advantage Djokovic. I don’t think it will be a straight sets win. My pick is Novak in 4 sets.

Willow Says:

R.I.P Mohammed Ali, floats like a butterfly, and stings like a bee ….

chrisford1 Says:

A few years back, to me, the two greatest mysteries of the top echelon players were: (1)The crappy serve of big, tall strong Vika Azarenka, and (2)Why the guy that had it all set to be a great force on clay – Andy had all the tools – sucked on clay. Mystery #2 is closed. Andy is now very, very good on clay the past 2 years.

However, if both Andy and Nole show up in good form, only one of those guys will all but kill himself to win….such is his hunger for this title.
So Djokovic in 4 sets.

With Djokovic his own mini-mystery is he is the guy that has all his skills and shots down save one. A shot which he still botches enough times that his fans wince when they see it coming – the Djokosmash. Some are good, some are extraordinarily bad A smash he hit his foot once. The smashes he launches into the net 3 meters from it. Or when he does get one over he hits it right at his foe, or gets off balance and out of position. The topper – off balance and stumbling into a net touch at the worst possible time in the worst possible place.
But I like it. As a duffer, to know there is one tennis thing I can do better than Nole. My Fordosmash is sound.

Novak and Andy grew up in the sport. Both are remarkable. They can beat the other in any given match on any surface. But Djokovic has fared a bit better, and I think it is the hunger he has is bigger than the hunger Andy has. With all his off court activities and distractions, just slightly more focused when they pay and just a bit mentally stronger. And I think he loves the sport just a little more than Andy, who has had times when everything in his expressions, self-pity, and ody language said he hated being out there.

Alonatp Says:

Seriously, why is anyone giving Murray a chance? I’d be surprised if he even takes a set off Djokovic. Djokovic in 3.

AndyMira Says:

I agree with sean..Andy in AO last january..even with his head full of kim and their baby..and we know how distracted he was at that time..he still can reach the final..this time,there’s nothing to worry him anymore..he can give his all out his win over novak in Rome made a HUGE difference to his believe and confidence..with that win,he successfully unleashed some of the demon that’s in his mind all this time..and he can play more freely tomorrow..Andy also must aware how pressure weigh heavily on novak’s shoulder right now..everybody expect novak to’s interesting to see whether the trauma from last year is still linger or not..and i think he will take this advantage and use it the best way he can..and one little tiny thing..Garbine won against serena last night surely creep into his mind and will take a motivation from that..that anything is possible..

skeezer Says:

Congrats on the Lopez’s GS trophy. Fantastic match with the Bryans, best match of the tournament by far.
Entertainment maximus.

Dave Says:


That didn’t seem to work last time Serena lost in a major final. I thought of that as well. But it didn’t effect the Novak match after she had lost to Kerber. Also, Andy won’t have the same endurance if it goes 5 as Novak, playing 5 more hours than him already to this point. If Andy is going to do it, it will need to be in 4. Because with Novak and Andy’s defense, 4 sets is going to take a lot longer than the 2 hours and 35 minutes that Andy beat Stan last match. Andy is very talented and could surprise us, but I feel if he does, it will need to be in 4 and not 5 sets.

mat4 Says:

The Lopez won, but Nico Mahut is no 1 again!

AndyMira Says:

Okay Dave..i see your reason..but didn’t the fact that novak played a little bit much in the 2nd week[due to rain earlier in the week] will make a difference?..while Andy already can use that time to recuperate and resting and make up for the lost time and energy that he spent on court in the 1st week..novak only got 1 day off after spent so much time on court this week..didn’t that will give andy a slight edge over novak?Sorry dave but i think andy can go 5 sets with novak..andy also very fit and healthy atm..but as usual i highly respect your opinion dave..can’t wait to see the 2 gladiators swing their sword case we didn’t chat anymore after this Dave..i wish you a very BIGGGGG good luck okay?

Wog Boy Says:

Both, Andy and Nole have big pressure on them for different reasons, everything depends who is going to handle that pressure better, who ever does it wins the title. Andy’s confidence is sky high and conditions will suit him more than Nole. I would say Andy is favorite.

As for his match against Stan, let us be honest, that wasn’t Stan’s best performance as much as Andy played great. Conditions were perfec for Andy’s retrieving game.

skeezer Says:

Nole is the BIG favorite, obviously. Conditions of this years draw made it perfect for Nole. There is no denying it. Andy has a big hill to climb. If Nole was playing Fed @ even 40-45 years of age of course Novak would be scared of losing and the finger wag. Lucky for him Fed got injured. Novak in 3 or 4.
Yawn, will not match the mens doubles finals.

Rafafan Says:

If Nole wins tomorrow, he is GOAT. Career slam but more importantly Nole Slam. That’s too much in my view.

Dave Says:

Andy Mira,

Thanks. I feel that Andy played a much harder QF and SF than Djokovic did. I feel that there is an accumulative effect. Djokovic coasted through Berdych and Thiem. The first 2 sets against Gasquet were maybe the most physical 2 sets of the tournament by any 2 players. Also, the extra 5 hours of being on the court has to have some kind of effect and show up at some point, if the match goes 3 to 5 hours against a defensive specialist like Novak. I noticed that Andy was the one who got tired and had nothing left against Nole last year in Australia and The French Open. He lost the 4th set 6-0 in Australia and didn’t have anything left to fight. Whether it was physical, mental or emotional, doesn’t matter. He just didn’t have anything left. In the French Open he lost 6-1 in the 5th set and again didn’t put up much of a fight. The last time I saw Andy stand up to Novak in the 5th set of a major was in 2012 at the U.S. Open when Novak had to fight back from 2 sets down and was the one who looked more tired in the 5th. Since than, I have never seen Murray stand up to Djokovic blow for blow when the matches have gone 4 or 5 sets at majors. Again this is just my opinion. So I could be wrong.

AndyMira Says:

Okay Dave..i respect you and your excellent opinion..we will see later today okay?Anyone who come out on top after that deserve to be applauded..and i don’t mind to give it to both of them..although i’ll admit,i hate to see one of them will be left disappointed..but..that’s sport..

Dave Says:

Okay. Sounds good. See you later. I don’t like that either. That’s the hardest part about it. One person has to lose the match. Take care.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Djokovic is an overwhelming favourite, for sure, but bigger upsets have happened.

Djokovic owns every historical or statistical predictor for this match, except 1.5. 1), that Murray won a clay match a few weeks ago, and .5) that Murray is only 2-4 in Slam finals against Novak, which gives him a good chunk of chance. However, the 2 matches Murray won were against a much lesser Novak. He’s a far better player now.

So, you really have 1 fact in Murray’s favour, everything else favours Novak.

For myself, I don’t really care who wins. I would be happy for both. I’m sure my subconscious will alert me as to whom I’m rooting for at some point during the match, but for now I’m neutral.

What I hope is, that we get the kind of tennis they played in the French semis last year, and not the nervous moonball choke fests of some of their Slam finals.

Flyer Says:

Would love to see Murray win FO tomorrow – but would also be shocked – Djokovic playing well and has proven in past has overall better game and fitness for 5 setter match.

Time will tell if lightening strikes twice and as last year the unexpected player wins the title…….

Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer….thanks to you I watched the replay…I had forgotten all about the dubs and you are so right it was a great match and very exciting. Love the fast net play….how they can be so quick in a sec and make those impossible looking shots. I loved watching that match…glad you brought it up!

Mg Mg Says:

Men’s double final was very entertaining. Novak is a huge favorite to win tomorrow.

Suresh Says:

The No 1 player won only once in 2011.No 2 won more times than No 1. Today Andy is the Hunter. Let’s wat

chrisford1 Says:

Imagine if Djokovic won the FO and Wimbledon. The nnticipation for the USO would be electric.
Though I think if he gets the “Djoker Slam” it is every bot the achievement of a Exact Jan – Sept Grand Slam.

skeezer Says:

Imagine if Murray wins FO and Wimby? What a concept.

skeezer Says:

Thanks. Commies on OKC. It was a great series, hope they keep it all together for next year, they put the Warriors on the brink of defeat.

Daniel Says:

Can’t believe I willnot be able to wath it live, maybe only if it’s a long one.

Will b on church family baptism starting excatly at 3 pm Paris time (10 am here in Brazil).

Will try to blog during the ceremony following scores so please guys and gals post as many details of the match as possible, want to read live comments.

May the best man win and hopong for a great match.

Want Djoko to win ot and end this no French Open for good, plus 4 in a row, that will be amazing. But it would be great for Murray if he wins and will shake a bit this season and become a twi horse race for top and big titles.

Pauly Says:

11×0 = zero

Might be 11×0 plus 1 ?
Djokovic had easier draw than Murray
That might help him
He played Thiem in semi final πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Navdeep Says:

To be honest I”all be really surprised if Andy pulls it off. He is an amazing player but somehow fails to bring his very best in slam finals.

Margot Says:

Of course, whatever Wog Boy says, Nole is the overwhelming favourite. Sean is the only pundit I’ve read anywhere who picks Andy. Bookies favour Nole, and they are rarely wrong. And, if he wins will hold all 4 slams at once, I think that’ll be the first time since Laver? If that’s right, it is an amazing achievement.
Didn’t see Nole’s match Thiem as RG, in its wisdom, decided to schedule both at the same time. Am giving them the benefit of the weather doubt, here, not poor judgement. But comments I’ve read seem to suggest he was playing imperiously.
So….head says Nole, heart says Andy. Who BTW has also made a bit of history, being the first British man, for something like 80 years, to reach the RG final. He is so special, we sure are gonna be sad when he hangs up his racquet.
Come on Andy! Let’s Go!

Nikola Says:

If Andy wins he will complete carrier grand slam before Novak. That would be really interesting.I think Novak will enter this match like there is no life afterwards. He’s going to fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Novak in 3.

Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer…Thanks regarding the Thunder…..they needed more lightening! Lol Your Warriors are something else….They have the 3pt advantage… on man they can hit the 3s. I think they could have kicked it in! They will be the champs They have an awesome ball team . . .

johnny sain Says:

Novak in 3

danica Says:

Warriors are my team too ;). Last season couldn’t get through Oakland downtown to go to work as the city was getting ready for the parade that would honor the NBA champs ;)

danica Says:

I am really surprised that Nole is picked to win overwhelmingly. I would expect more balanced and even picks. This final can go either way. If some say Andy will need to play lights out tennis, well, so will Nole. From what I’ve seen against Wawa, Andy was defending incredibly and getting at all the balls. He was in a beast mode.

sisay Says:


It is ok to pick Andy, no problem.I have been following tennis x since 2012 and i love reading your posts. But for a senior and experienced writer you are how come you take the Rome final seriously? Did you see that match by the way? Even Andy was not showing any sign of joy at the end of the match, and that was because he knew that was not Novak of old at the other side if the net. I think Andy felt like Novak gifted him that final. Anyway it is tennis and it can go either way, but as most posters say here Novak is huge favourite. Nole in 3 and one breadstick…

danica Says:

Oh Sisay,
You are really brave to suggest it will be done in 3 and not mention, with one breadstick. I would like that but hey, let’s be realistic here :).

anki Says:

Andy in four, he is playing at a higher level than Novak right now on clay. It is almost like Andy is reaching his peak at 29, he played lights out tennis against Stan. Novak is not the same as in 2015, his serve has regressed a lot and same with his ground game. Andy seems much better than Novak in all departments and his serve is good too.

Van Persie Says:

Hehe, expected for Anki to say, Djokovic will lose today. She /He had bad calls during entire RG. It means, Novak will win

Van Persie Says:

Thank you Anki

Pauly Says:

Djokovic is the pick Coz he’s being trying to win this slam for 12 years surely it’s time now for the bubble to burst & Murray is the opponent he’s been waiting for Coz he’s mentally weak !
Can’t see Murray holding his emotions in check
Hope it’s good match ?
Another indication who will win is their semi final opponents … Murray had defending champion to beat while Djokovic had young boy Thiem

chrisford1 Says:

Echoing Margot, the Mecca of bookie odds outside US football and basketball is London.
Their hearts may be with the Brit/Scot/Feminist but their bottom line is always unsentimental except when they stuck with Fed too long as Nadal kept having his way with Fed.

Current odds

Novak 1-1.33
Andy 1-3.52

The payout is huge if you bet on Andy in the UK. Though I would not bet on Novak for a crummy 33% return less taxes..Andy is not that bad. Novak should be the 75% fave, tops!

Van Persie Says:

You’re the opposite of Paul the octopus ;)

anki Says:

Haha, who do you think will win?

Van Persie Says:

I had my pick already. See above

sisay Says:


trust me on this one i am being realistic…I think this final was in his mind when he was playing Andy in that Rome final…AND NOW HE REALLY WANTS TO SHOW HIM WHO THE REAL BOSS IS…ooohh i wish i am right lol…no no joke i mean it.

anki Says:

Novak? as usual ;) It is just that I feel like Andy will Win. He was couple of points away from being knocked out in the first round and now he is in the finals. May be it was meant to be for him.

Van Persie Says:

Will talk about after the match ;).Feelings do not count much

anki Says:

Okay, we shall see

sisay Says:

Have you read a tennis news on the web? I am fade up with the British medias…murray this murray that…it is so boring. I remember last time when he lost the AO final i red this title ‘andy lost to novak in AO final’…

Dave Says:


I was just saying yesterday that it’s better for me not to read all of the british media hype, because they hype up Murray so much like he is the favorite to win this match and the guys on eurosport said that Murray has been by far the better player on clay without a doubt. A guy that lost 6 sets this tournament and faced another 3 set points against Isner.

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