‘He definitely is next to Rafa and Roger, the greatest rival I ever had,’ Novak Djokovic sympathizes with Andy Murray for pulling out ahead of ‘epic’ showdown in Madrid

Novak Djokovic feels sorry for Andy Murray after the Brit was forced to pull out ahead of their Round of 16 clash at Madrid.

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic after the 2016 Australian Open Finals
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic after the 2016 Australian Open Finals

Fans will have to stay patient for the much-awaited clash between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. The two greats of the game were supposed to meet in the Round of 16 of the Madrid Masters after 5 long years but due to food poisoning, Murray had to pull out at the last moment handing a walkover to Djokovic.

Addressing the issue in an interview with Tennis Channel, Djokovic lauded Murray and called him a great champion. He also recalled their previous meetings and termed him as his greatest rival other than Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Murray and Djokovic have played all grand slam finals and the Serb recalled that their rivalry goes way back to junior tennis.

“Andy, first of all, is a great champion. Someone I admire a lot, respect a lot. We had some great encounters over the years and different surfaces and played finals in every slam. He definitely is next to Rafa and Roger, the greatest rival I ever had. I think there’s something special to our rivalry that we are of the same age. I think there’s only one month difference between our ages. We grew up together, the first match we played was in under-12 in France,” Djokovic said.

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‘Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to play soon’: Novak Djokovic

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic

Djokovic further said that Murray not being able to compete is a loss for tennis as the two would’ve played for the first time in over 5 years. He also hoped that they’d get a chance soon to compete on the court.

“So we go back a long time and I’m very sorry for him that he wasn’t able to come out on the court. It’s not great for the tournament, it’s not great for our sport. Everyone was looking forward to that encounter because he didn’t play for 5 years. But hopefully, we’ll get a chance to play soon,” he said.

On the court, Djokovic will face Hubert Hurkacz in the quarterfinals on Friday and would face either Carlos Alcaraz or Rafael Nadal in the semifinal.

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