Andy Murray believes Novak Djokovic has demonstrated unrivalled consistency in the latter stages of his career, even when compared to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The three-time Grand Slam winner described what Djokovic has achieved this year as “incredible” and hailed the Serbian’s motivation and drive to keep performing at the highest level.
Murray contested rivalries with each of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal earlier in his career during what was arguably the golden era of men’s tennis.
The Brit’s head-to-head records are: 11-25 against Djokovic; 11-14 against Federer; 7-17 against Nadal. Murray has not faced Djokovic since the 2017 Doha final and Nadal since the 2016 Madrid semi-finals, while his last encounter with the now-retired Federer came in the 2015 Cincinnati semi-finals.
Djokovic won a men’s record-extending 24th Grand Slam title earlier this month with his victory over Daniil Medvedev in the final of the 2023 US Open. The 36-year-old Serbian has now won 12 majors in his 30s and has a 12-3 record in Slam finals since turning 30.
Speaking in an interview at the Zhuhai Championships last week, Murray hailed Djokovic’s 2023 season, during which he has won three of the four Grand Slam events.
“I think what he achieved at the US Open, and also for the whole of this year, is incredible. To still be doing what he is physically at 36 is very impressive,” said the former world No 1.
“The motivation and the drive to keep winning and keep performing at that level, it’s brilliant. I think of all those guys, Roger, Rafa, they have all had long careers. But certainly none of them, I don’t think, have played at the level that Novak is just now at this stage of their careers so consistently.”
Following Djokovic’s US Open triumph, two-time Olympic gold medallist Murray backed his fellow 36-year-old for more major glory.
“I said that after Wimbledon, everyone was saying it was a changing of the guard, but it wasn’t for me,” explained the Brit in an interview with the BBC.
“It was quite clear Novak had won two of the first three slams and was very, very close in the final of Wimbledon. He proved that he’s the best player in the world again yesterday and like I said it’s up to the youngsters to improve enough to take him.
“I don’t think he’s going to stop at 24 titles, but you never know how long it will last. Physically, motivation, whether someone like [Carlos] Alcaraz improves – he’s an amazing player Alcaraz, he’s brilliant, but to do what Novak is doing on a consistent basis is different.
“It’s not the same as doing it for 15-20 weeks a year like Novak is doing, every time he steps on the court. I do think that Alcaraz will soon get to that level but I don’t think this is going to be the last time that Novak wins a Grand Slam.”
Murray was defeated by Aslan Karatsev in the second round of the ATP 250 tournament in Zhuhai last week.