2013 Wimbledon

Wimbledon 2013 Men's Final: Andy Murray's Win Builds Rivalry with Novak Djokovic

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07:  Andy Murray of Great Britain is congratulated by Novak Djokovic of Serbia following his victory in the Gentlemen's Singles Final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 7, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Anja Niedringhaus - Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2013

Feast your eyes upon the next thrilling rivalry in men's tennis.

Although it only went three sets, the men's final at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships was an enthralling tennis match. Even if you set aside the history of Andy Murray becoming the first British male in 77 years to win at Wimbledon, the match had just about everything you could have asked for.

Novak Djokovic was not at his best, but he still brought a lot to the court and was a game challenger for Murray.

The 2013 Wimbledon final was another chapter in what has supplanted Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal as the best rivalry in men's tennis.

Federer is declining by the year, and you can't be too sure how much Nadal has left in his knees. He looked great going into Wimbledon but was a much different player on the court.

With Djokovic and Murray, you've got two guys who are at the top of the game and, at 26 years old, entering into their primes. Juan Martin del Potro, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are good players, but Murray and Djokovic look to be a class above.

The purists will watch the tennis no matter what. In order to attract the more casual fans, the sport must have rivalries. You must have stakes when watching tennis matches, otherwise you're just watching a bunch of individuals you don't care about.

When you look back on the greatest tennis players of their times, they always had that foil against whom their accomplishments were measured. Pete Sampras had Andre Agassi. Rod Laver had Ken Rosewall. Then you had John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Bjorn Borg and Guillermo Vilas all battling each other.

Tennis thrives on rivalries.

What makes this even better is the fact it's a very evenly matched rivalry, and when the two meet, they meet at the biggest moments. Fifteen of the 19 matches these guys have played were in the semifinal or later of a tournament.

Djokovic owns the head-to-head, with 11 wins to Murray's eight. Djokovic won in the finals of the 2013 and 2011 Australian Opens, to go along with his semifinal win in the 2012 Australian Open. Murray has gotten the last laugh now in the 2013 Wimbledon final, 2012 Olympics semifinal and final of the 2012 US Open.

Of course, no rivalry would be entertaining if the competitors were mirror images of one another.

Once again, Murray and Djokovic are more than capable of playing off each other on the court.

Djokovic is more robotic on the court and relies a lot on his power and ability to turn defense into offense. With Murray, you've got a guy who can be very animated on the court—sometimes too much so—and relies on his defensive game and working the angles.

Here's to hoping that Wimbledon wasn't the last time Murray and Djokovic will meet in the final. Chances are it's not, and that's a great thing for tennis.

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