Andy Murray lost to Novak Djokovic by 2-6, 6-3, 3-6, conceding the Madrid Open title and in the process dropped to third place in the ATP world rankings, behind Roger Federer.
“I feel like I’ve been here before,” the Briton had said during his runner-up speech, which was given then after losing the Grand Slam to Djokovic.
And it was familiar scenes again here at La Caja Magica, as now it appears almost a routine event for Djokovic to snatch titles away from Murray.
In the match, Murray failed to avoid a Djokovic steamroll in the first set, withstood assaults to level in the second, and subsequently lost the decider, unable to his own against the Serb’s sheer power and accuracy.
But it was a sheer testament to Murray’s improvement as the Brit managed to cut it close – it would be unimaginable for him to make the game uncomfortable against hard opponents a few years before on clay, as Murray himself noted.
“It’s been a positive week for me this week overall,” he said. “A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be winning against Rafa and then pushing Novak this close on a clay court.”
Indeed, the Madrid crowd was silenced as Murray defeated local and tournament favourite Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals just as Djokovic made it past Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
On the other hand, Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic could take the Masters title as an additional feather to his hat that accentuates his dominance in the world of tennis. He also revealed that his decade-long rivalry with Murray was something he enjoys.
“We are the two best players in the world, which at that time maybe it seemed like something that will be very challenging for us to achieve,” Djokovic said.
“But we both thrived to be at the top, and we’ve known each other since we were 12,” he added. “I think you can see already in those junior days that both of us have serious intentions to conquer the tennis world.”
The Madrid Open title was Djokovic’s fifth in the past sixth Masters tournaments, and a positive note with which he could begin his Roland Garros campaign, the only Grand Slam that remained out of his reach.