Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are set for a showdown on the Madrid Open on Thursday, with the winner securing a spot within the the quarterfinals and taking one other step towards restoration.
Djokovic and Murray are far aside within the rankings, however each have been going by related occasions, making an attempt to regain their greatest kind after lackluster begins to the season.
The highest-ranked Djokovic is taking part in in solely his fourth match after not being allowed to take part within the Australian Open due to his vaccination standing. The 78th-ranked Murray, making an attempt to make a run again to the highest, is trying to win three matches in a row for the primary time since January.
They haven’t confronted one another since Djokovic received on the Doha ultimate of 2017.
“We’ve had so many nice battles over time in a few of the greatest tournaments on this planet,” Murray stated. “We performed within the ultimate I consider all 4 Grand Slams, we performed right here within the ultimate, and I haven’t had that chance to play towards him for a very long time.”
Djokovic defeated Murray in three units within the Madrid ultimate in 2016. The Serb has 25 wins and 11 losses towards the Briton.
“In concept I should not have any probability,” the 34-year-old Murray stated. “He’s clearly No. 1 on this planet, I’m taking part in with a steel hip. It’s an important alternative for me to see the place my recreation’s at and to play towards him once more.”
Murray, who was final ranked No. 1 in 2017, had hip surgical procedures in 2018 and 2019 and dropped to No. 839. He solely returned to the highest 100 in February.
“Didn’t know if I ever would get that probability, so I’ll take pleasure in it,” stated Murray, who hadn’t performed on clay in almost two years. “I’ll have a incredible perspective within the match, give it my greatest and see the place I’m at.”
Djokovic has praised Murray in his comeback try.
“He’s transferring properly, taking part in higher and higher. It’s actually incredible to see, as a result of he’s an essential participant for our recreation,” Djokovic stated. “To have him nonetheless compete is nice, and to have him even play at a excessive degree because the time goes by is spectacular, contemplating the surgical procedure and what he has been by up to now few years. His resilience and preventing spirit is basically inspiring.”
Murray, winner in Madrid in 2008 and 2015, is taking part in on a wild card after altering his thoughts about skipping the clay season. He opened his Madrid marketing campaign with victories over former No. 3 Dominic Thiem and 14th-seeded Denis Shapovalov. He hadn’t received two consecutive matches since reaching the Sydney ultimate in January, when he misplaced to Aslan Karatsev in straight units.
The 34-year-old Djokovic, a three-time winner within the Spanish capital, appeared sharp in his opener, a two-set victory over Gael Monfils in what he referred to as his “greatest efficiency of the 12 months.”
Djokovic arrived in Madrid with a 5-3 file within the three tournaments he performed. He had wanted three units in every of his final three victories, all in Serbia earlier than dropping the ultimate there to Andrey Rublev. He misplaced to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his opening match in Monte Carlo, which was his solely different clay match this season.