US Open 2012: The Rivalry of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic

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US Open 2012: The Rivalry of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Poor Andy Murray has been overshadowed by the rest of the Big Four his entire career. 

Unable to make a breakthrough on the Grand Slam stage, Murray is sometimes even excluded from the Big Three of Tennis, consisting of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

With a chance to win his first Grand Slam trophy at the 2012 US Open, maybe that could all change for Murray.

In another era, Murray would have won a Grand Slam by now. He may have even won several Grand Slams if he didn’t have to contest Federer or Nadal just to get to a final. In a world without Federer and Nadal, Murray and fellow 25-year old Djokovic may have had a duopoly of their own. 

Here’s a look at what could have been a thrilling rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Djokovic and Murray are both 25 years of age. In fact, the two were born only a week apart. Unlike Federer and Nadal who have a five-year age gap, Djokovic and Murray would ideally hit their peaks around the same time.

In another world, these could have been the two men playing in classic finals in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York. Instead, these two have rarely met in Grand Slam tournaments due to the nature of the tournament draw. With Federer and Nadal being so dominant in Grand Slam play over the last few years, the pair of 25-year-olds would lose out before the final more times than not. 

While Murray has yet to win his first Grand Slam, he showed the world he was on the verge when he took Djokovic to five sets in a heart-wrenching loss in the Australian Open semifinals.  Later this year he took a set off of World No. 1 Roger Federer in the final at Wimbledon and followed that up with an Olympic gold medal just a few weeks later. 

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Andy Murray could solidify his spot as one of the game's greats with a win over Novak Djokovic in the 2012 US Open final

The truth is that Murray has actually had a pretty competitive rivalry with Djokovic.

A few weeks after this year’s Australian Open, Murray downed Djokovic in the semifinals in Dubai. 

Many critics have said that they believe Murray matches up with Djokovic better than both Federer and Nadal. In fact, Murray was one of the few players to defeat Djokovic during his near-perfect 2011 season. 

Their head-to-head record is 8-6 in favor of Djokovic, but Murray leads 3-2 in finals. To date, the two have not met often enough for us to get a real glimpse at what this rivalry could develop into.

But with Federer on the other side of 31, and Nadal sidelined by a serious injury, we could see this rivalry develop to its fullest in the coming years.

If Monday’s US Open final turns out to be a good one, we’ll be hoping for these two to meet up more often.

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