Who's the More Polarizing Star: Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic?

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIDecember 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10:  Andy Murray of Great Britain shakes hands with Novak Djokovic of Serbia following his victory in the men's singles final match on Day Fifteen of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Murray defeated Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are both instantly recognizable names when it comes to men's tennis—their reputations precede them, and almost everybody knows who either or both men are.

They might not know everything about them—height, date of birth, career win-loss record when playing on outdoor clay surfaces—but everyone who knows anything about men's tennis knows something about either Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic. They're just two very famous individuals.

Murray is, of course, the British hopeful who ended one of the longest curses in sport with a Grand Slam victory for Great Britain at the 2012 U.S. Open.

The Scotsman had already made four Grand Slam finals before and a number of semifinals before that, but had been unable to take his game to the next level—something that he started to become recognizable and famous for.

Andy Murrray: the bridesmaid of men's tennis. 

Always at the wedding but never getting married—that would be the legacy Murray had built for himself prior to his breakthrough success at Flushing Meadows and the London Olympics last year.

And then there would be Djokovic, the Serbain legend who currently sits as the greatest player in the world and will no doubt go down as one of the true greats of the sport.

He has won five Grand Slams, 34 singles titles and has chalked up close to $50 million in career prize money from his nine-year career so far.

Both men are true greats of the sport—the names people pay to go and watch play—but both also divide public opinion straight down the middle about them.

Neither player has a small following, with both bringing strong (and loud) fans to their respective matches, but in terms of public opinion and general consensus, both Murray and Djokovic tend to polarize themselves from the middle ground.

In other words, you either love them or you hate them.

And if we're looking for which of the two players does that "better," more efficiently or simply to a larger degree, then the answer has to be Murray. In fact, you could nearly go as far to say that there is no player currently in the men's game as polarized as Murray is at the moment.

Whenever his name comes into question, the opening train of thought is usually what we mentioned before—being the bridesmaid of tennis and forever falling short at the final hurdle.That was Murray's legacy, and now people simply think of that whenever they think of the 25-year-old.

Yet at the same time, there are also those who have behind Murray from the moment he burst onto the ATP circuit—backing him to be the man most likely to break into the then Big Three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

There were those that grew in their affection and endearment for him with every missed opportunity, every disappointing finish, every Grand Slam second place.

Every time Murray would cry and choke his way through a post-match interview, declaring that he would be stronger next time and that he would get there soon, much of the public grew to support and develop a secret little soft spot for Murray.

And so Murray, like no other player on tour at the moment, developed two sets of groups that are at complete ends of the spectrum regarding their affection. There are those that love to see him lose and fall at the final hurdle time and time again, declaring him to be not as good as the other three, and there are those that rejoice every time Murray takes down a giant and triumphs in a Grand Slam.

Murray, more than Djokovic, and even more than the likes of Federer and Nadal, has become the most polarizing star in men's tennis at the moment, and judging by comments that he made following his breakthrough title last season, you get the feeling it's a position he secretly enjoys being in.

Especially if it leads him to Grand Slam success.


Is Andy Murray the most polarizing player in tennis?

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