Amélie Mauresmo was on the other side of the Atlantic, having just given birth to a baby boy, but the Frenchwoman’s influence was clear as Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic for the first time for more than two years to win the Montreal Masters.
Murray’s coach has always encouraged her charge to play an aggressive game and would have been proud of the way the Scot ended his run of eight successive defeats to Djokovic. Murray, who won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, attacked from the start on Sunday night and regularly came to the net to put away his volleys or force the world No 1 into mistakes.
“I played aggressively when I needed to,” Murray said after claiming his third title in Canada, “especially in the third set when I was break points down, I finished a couple of points up at the net. I got some free points on my first serve, as well. I would say the margins were so fine. I think there were only six or seven points over three hours.”
Apart from Kei Nishikori, who has withdrawn with a hip injury, all the top players will compete at this week’s Cincinnati Masters, where Murray will play his opening match against Mardy Fish. However, the main focus will be the US Open, which starts in 13 days’ time. Murray replaced Roger Federer at No 2 in the world rankings, which means that he can face Djokovic in New York only in the final.
Murray said that beating Djokovic would be “helpful” going into the year’s final Grand Slam event. “It’s frustrating to have losing streaks,” Murray said. “But each time you step on the court against someone, it’s a different match. The previous 27 matches we played against each other, they don’t mean as much as everybody else thinks.”
He added: “There are a number of players who have lost seven, eight, nine times against someone. But the most important thing is that you still believe that you can win the match when you go on the court against them. Maybe last year it wasn’t the case. But this year, I certainly feel like I believed in myself when I’ve gone on the court against Novak.”
Djokovic had beaten Murray in all four of their previous meetings this year and had not lost to him since the Wimbledon final in 2013. “This year I’ve lost some tough ones to him,” Murray said. “Last year I wasn’t able to compete with the top players. I was coming back from back surgery.
“This year I feel like I’ve been able to. I’ve had some close matches and some tough losses – the Miami final, the Australian Open, the French Open – so to win this one was nice, especially the way the match was as well. It would have been easy for me to let that one slip away. But I fought well and stayed calm in the important moments of the third set.”
Murray said he thought he was playing better than ever. “I think me today would beat me a few years ago,” he said. “I feel like my back and stuff is much better now. I have more experience. There are things I’m doing a little bit better on the court as well.”
Jonas Bjorkman has taken charge of Murray’s coaching in Mauresmo’s absence. “He’s going to be with me pretty much every event I play between now and the end of the year,” Murray said. “When Amélie is ready to sit down and chat, then we’ll see what it is she wants do, if she wants to continue doing the job, if she wants to stay at home. She’s earned the right to make that decision. I don’t feel like it’s for me to decide. It’s really up to her and what she wants.”
How Big Four dominate in Masters Series
Andy Murray’s victory in Montreal extended the remarkable domination of the sport’s “Big Four” in the nine Masters Series tournaments.
Of 49 such tournaments played since Monte Carlo in 2010, 45 have been won by Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
Robin Soderling won at Paris Bercy in 2010, David Ferrer at Paris Bercy 2011, Stan Wawrinka at Monte Carlo 2014 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Toronto 2014, but the Soderling win was the last time a Masters Series final did not feature one of the Big Four.
In 39 of the last 49 finals both finalists have been members of the Big Four. Djokovic has 14 finals victories over his three biggest rivals in that time, with Nadal having 13 and Federer and Murray six each.
The top three on the all-time list of Masters Series champions are Nadal (27 titles), Djokovic (24) and Federer (23).Reuse content