Andy Murray pinpoints ‘mission impossible’ against Novak Djokovic ahead of Australian Open
Tennis: Djokovic slams critics after Australian Open win
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Andy Murray has admitted that it would be “impossible” to beat Novak Djokovic at the upcoming Australian Open. The Brit has made five Australian Open finals and lost to the world No 1 in four of them. However, Djokovic could miss the season-opening Grand Slam in 2022 over the tournament’s vaccine mandate.
Murray is continuing his comeback from his surgery and is set to compete at the Australian Open for the first time since he announced his retirement during the 2019 edition.
At the time, the three-time Major champion had failed in his attempt to return from a hip injury and admitted his opening-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut could be his last, later undergoing a hip resurfacing surgery and deciding to mount another comeback afterwards.
He was injured during the 2020 Aussie Open and had a positive Covid test that left him unable to find a workable quarantine period for the 2021 edition, but is looking to make his long-awaited return next month.
The current world No 134 has been gaining momentum in his comeback and looks to be in a good place ahead of the season-opening Grand Slam.
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At the end of 2021, Murray made two quarter-finals for the first time in almost two years, and scored two top ten wins over Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner.
He continued to impress at last week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition, making the final after defeating world No 25 Dan Evans and Rafael Nadal, who was playing his first match after an injury lay-off.
He will now spend Christmas at home before heading to Australia for the season-opening Grand Slam, but he has admitted that it will be a tough task for anyone to beat Djokovic during the hard-court Major.
“When it comes to Djokovic, the first thing that comes to mind is Australia. He is untouchable there,” the former world No 1 told SportKlub.
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“The mission is almost impossible to win.”
Murray, who enjoyed a competitive rivalry with the Serb during the height of his career and has known Djokovic since they were children, said it would be tough to beat the current world No 1 anywhere, but especially in Australia.
He continued: “How many, I think he has nine titles. That’s crazy.
“In general, it is difficult against Novak on all surfaces, but there in particular, because everything suits him, mostly surfaces.”
However, Murray did admit he still likes his chances against the Serb on grass, as opposed to Roger Federer who is stronger on the surface, adding: “We also played on the grass, I beat him twice, maybe I found a way to oppose him. On the other hand, against Federer, I lost several important matches on the grass, so I can say that it is a shade harder against him than against Novak at Wimbledon.
“Djokovic is on a hard surface when he is in the best shape, that is a very difficult task.”
Murray has lofty goals for the 2022 season and is hoping for a “fairytale run” at a Grand Slam, but may need to wait until after Australia if Djokovic competes.
The 20-time Major champion has been in doubt to compete since tournament organisers confirmed full vaccination was mandatory for all players, as he refuses to disclose his vaccination status and has been opposed to vaccine mandates in the past.
He has put his name on the entry list but is yet to confirm whether he is vaccinated.
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