Novak Djokovic has spoken of his admiration for Andy Murray’s never-say-die attitude after the British star showed his fighting spirit to save match points this season. However, the rivals have been denied a chance to compete at this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships after Murray pulled out as a ‘precaution’.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Murray stormed up the rankings to world No.52 during the Qatar Open last week – despite being beaten in the final by Daniil Medvedev. The former world No.1 had already overcome Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open after an epic five-set clash.
The British star showed the same heart at the Qatar Open with two incredible comebacks sealing wins from the jaws of defeat. Murray saved three match points before beating Italian Lorenzo Sonego in the first round before rescuing five match points and winning the tiebreak to overcome Jiri Lehecka in the semi-final.
“He [Murray] has got so much talent, incredible grit, incredible mentality of a champion, of a fighter,” Djokovic told the Gulf News ahead of this week’s tournament. “What is happening now this year with his match points saved in literally every match he plays.”
Murray’s career looked over after a second hip surgery, raising fears he might never play in a Grand Slam tournament again. But after making his return, the 35-year-old has shown that he can still compete with best tennis players in the world this season.
Djokovic added: “He’s constantly looking to improve and to get back to the highest level, which it seems like he’s been doing. He’s just rising in the rankings, getting better and better. I’m very happy for him because he’s a great guy, respects the sport, works very, very hard. So very committed, he deserves his success.”
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“You have to note that he has an artificial hip and the way he moves and the amount of hours he has spent on the court since the beginning of the year, particularly in Australia, is just something you must admire and say ‘chapeau’.”
In a bid to recover from his Qatar Open exploits, Murray will miss this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships and plans to be back in competition at the Indian Wells, which gets underway next week, and the Miami Masters two weeks later. Both events are Masters 1000 tournaments so a successful run would boost his world ranking further.
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