Andy Murray heaped praise on Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic as he came to terms with another grand slam final disappointment.
Murray was outclassed by the Serb, 6-4 6-2 6-3, stumbling at the final hurdle for the third time and Britain’s 75-year wait for a men’s grand slam singles champion carried on. Murray said: “He played great although I would have liked to have played better. He’d have beaten every other player on the tour. He served well, didn’t make many mistakes, moved really well and hit the ball cleanly.”
Murray became the first man in the open era not to win a set in three grand slam final appearances. The first two defeats, at the US Open in 2008 and in Australia 12 months ago, saw him lose to Roger Federer but he came into this contest seemingly on a par with Djokovic. But what transpired will haunt Murray for some time.
His first serve percentage was 53%, his groundstrokes continually missed their target, his body language was negative while his movement was weak.
The 23-year-old said: “I could have moved better but I wasn’t injured. Against Novak you need to be firing on all cylinders and I didn’t move as well as I would have liked.” Murray at least competed in the opening exchanges with the first set remaining on serve until 5-4 when Djokovic broke to claim an early advantage. But from there on in, it was one-way traffic. Djokovic quickly established a 5-0 lead in the second set and although Murray broke for the first time to avoid total humiliation, he could not prevent himself from falling two-sets down.
Another Murray break at the start of the third offered brief hope of a turnaround but Djokovic promptly broke back twice to move 3-1 ahead.
The 23-year-old hit back once more but Djokovic again had the answer by re-establishing his advantage for a 5-3 lead and he served it out.