Andy Murray would be “more than happy” to talk to Novak Djokovic but insisted here on Monday night that he did not feel the world No 1 needed to explain any of his actions in the final of the Australian Open nine days ago.
After Djokovic’s four-set victory in Melbourne, where Murray won only three of the last 15 games, the Scot regretted allowing himself to be distracted by his opponent’s wildly fluctuating physical condition. Djokovic stumbled and struggled to reach balls at the beginning of the second and third sets, but made a strong recovery on both occasions. Murray said at the time that the Serb had “looked like he was in quite a bad way at the beginning of the third set and came back unbelievable at the end of that set”.
However, as Murray prepared to make his return to competition in this week’s World Indoor Tournament here, he stressed: “If Novak feels he needs to explain anything to me I would obviously be more than happy to speak to him. But as usual I think everything was made out to be much, much bigger than what it was. It happens all the time these days.
“I said after the match that I was disappointed with myself because I got distracted. It’s the reality of what happened. I’m fully aware that when you play a match as physical as that one that you go through periods where you can be very tired and then you feel better. You can get a second wind. People talk about it in all sports. That happens when you get closer to the finish line.”
When it was suggested that Djokovic had also made inappropriate comments at the Melbourne presentation ceremony by talking about Murray and his fiancée, Kim Sears, having children, the Scot replied: “I think you’re reading too much into that. I’ve known him since I was 12 years old. If people want to make out that we have a terrible relationship and don’t get on, that’s fine, but it’s so far from the reality.”
As for his performances in Melbourne, Murray said he had been very pleased with his form overall, if disappointed by the final outcome. “There are 128 players in the tournament at the start,” he said. “Getting to the final and losing is tough, but being second out of 128 is not bad. There were 126 players who would have signed up for that result. I played some of my best tennis again there. I played really, really well.”
Murray did not pick up a racket for five days on his return from Australia before practising here on Saturday. He has given himself a demanding schedule over the next two months. From here he goes to Dubai and then to Glasgow for Britain’s Davis Cup tie against the United States before successive Masters Series tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.
“I felt last year that my body responded much better to playing matches and tournaments,” Murray said. “When I was younger my body felt good when I came back to play after breaks of four or five weeks, but when I took breaks last year I found it quite difficult at times.”
Murray was not due to link up again with his coach, Amélie Mauresmo, until Indian Wells, but is hoping they will get the chance to work together for a few days before either Dubai or the Davis Cup. The Scot has been looking for a replacement for his former assistant coach, Dani Vallverdu, and hopes to make an appointment within the next month.
If he wins the title here Murray will climb one place to No 3 in the world rankings, but he faces a strong field, including Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic. Murray plays his first match tomorrow against France’s Nicolas Mahut.Reuse content