Novak Djokovic-Andy Murray Fans Clash Bare Knuckle: Australian Open Final 2011

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Novak Djokovic-Andy Murray Fans Clash Bare Knuckle: Australian Open Final 2011
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Friend Become Rivals

Nearly ten years ago, the first official match between Murray and Djokovic was played at Les Petits A's 12-14 age group, in Tarbes, a town in France where decadent writer Theophile Gautier was born.

In Gautier's book Devil's Tear, God plays a trick to win a bet with Satan. The decadent-looking Murray, the trickier one on court, played his cards right—and still does—in their battle and won 6-0, 6-1 (if Murray's recollection is correct). Djokovic does not remember the score and it is good that way.

They have been friends and rivals since their teenage years, except for a couple of years when they were fiercely competing to get the better of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. 

Djokovic and Murray have been No. 3 and No. 4 most of the last 3-4 years, occasionally swapping ranks and even taking over the No. 2. The Serb occupied the No. 2 ranking half of last year (26 weeks to be precise). 

Murray articulated the tension between the friend Djokovic and the rival Djokovic: "When we've seen each other off the courts, I've never been jealous of him. We have always got on well. When we were a bit younger, because we were the two trying to get ahead of Roger and Rafa, we wanting to push each other a little bit. So sometimes the matches were a little fiery, but now we get on very well."

Starting Sunday, on the biggest stage of Grand Slam final, friendship takes the backseat and an official rivalry kicks off between the two, signaling an era some may call "Nolandy" or "Djokory", if not an end to the Federer and Nadal era.

It is in this context, I am in the role of a Djokovic fan and Casper, a regular B/R poster, will be Murray. Like Djokovic and Murray, Casper and I are both friends and rivals.    

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