Novak Djokovic tips his rivalry with Andy Murray to become the biggest

Wimbledon 2013: World No1 Novak Djokovic believes his rivalry with Britain's Andy Murray can become the biggest

By Tim Poole
Andy Murray Queen's Cup
Andy Murray won his third Queen's title last Sunday Photo: Marianne Bevis

Novak Djokovic feels his long-standing rivalry with Andy Murray can become the biggest in tennis.

The Serb will begin his bid to reclaim the Wimbledon title against Germany’s Florian Mayer next Tuesday after losing to Roger Federer at the semi-final stage last year.

But it is Murray, not Federer or French Open champion Rafael Nadal, with whom the 26-year-old feels he can develop the most definitive rivalry.

“Murray and myself, we grew up together, started to play more in the big tournaments, and that’s one of the big rivalries that can develop over the years,” Djokovic said of his on-going duel with the British number one at the Boodles in Stoke Park.

“I think he dealt with the pressure of playing at Wimbledon really well, especially last year, pressure from media, from people. Obviously Great Britain has looked for a champion for many years and he’s the biggest hope.

“He came very close last year, but I think he likes it. He learned to play under pressure, it’s part of our sport, especially for top players. We manage to develop to cope with the pressure.”

The six-time Grand Slam champion still considers Nadal and Federer to be huge threats, however, especially after his five-set defeat by the former in the French Open semi-finals.

“Of course Nadal and Federer are the two most successful active players,” the 26-year-old continued. “I still think their rivalry is the best rivalry we have in sport.

“Hopefully I can bounce back from that loss against Nadal in Paris. It was a thrilling match to be part of, and was disappointing in the end to lose, but life goes on. It’s not the first time or last time I lose.

“A loss is a loss. Of course it hurts, especially 9-7 in the final set in the SFs against one of my biggest rivals, but the next day when you wake up it’s a new day. You have to stand up, work, get stronger and try to win tournaments.”

On top of winning the title in 2011, Djokovic has reached three Wimbledon semi-finals in his career to date. He is taking nothing for granted, though, especially considering how difficult the transition is from clay to grass.

“Everything is different,” he explained. “The bounce on clay is very high, on grass you don’t get such high bounce. You can’t slide.

“Obviously everything happens very fast on grass, you have to try and focus on your return of serve, be more aggressive. It takes time, but I think I’m going to be fine.”

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