Novak and Andy: Chapter 37

Hearing about a confrontation between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray brings to mind the memory of the big match, of the Grand Slam final. To date, the Serbian and the British have faced each other 36 times, this being the fourth greatest rivalry in tennis history during the Open Era (since 1968). This Thursday, the round of 16 of the Mutua Madrid Open will kick off with the 37th fight between Novak and Andy (12:00). Madrid was already the scene of the first duel of both, back in 2006, also in the round of 16 and with Djokovic’s victory in three sets.

Since then, two of the best tennis players of recent years have left historic duels, like that final of the US Open 2012. Of his 37 matches, 19 were in tournament finals (seven in Grand Slam). The balance in the direct duel is clearly favorable for Djokovic: 25 victories for the Serbian for 11 that the Scotsman scored.

But this Thursday will be a different confrontation and, above all, special. Djokovic arrives having remained in the elite, with 20 Grand Slams won and as world number one. Murray, winner of three other major tournaments, has lived a very different path since 2017, when they last met in Doha. The man from Glasgow has had three operations on his hip, where he now wears a titanium plate. Playing again in the elite is already a victory for Andy, and this match is his reward for it.

In addition, this Thursday other round of 16 matches will be played, such as the Lorenzo Musetti against an Alexander Zverev who suffered a lot yesterday to beat Cilic (4-6, 6-4 and 6-4). The reigning champion in Madrid had to come back from a set down to reach the round of 16.