Tennis: Andy Murray failed in his bid to make history today as he lost to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.
Having beaten the Serbian in the US Open final last September, the Scot was aiming to become the first male player in the Open era to follow up his maiden grand slam triumph by winning the next available major crown.
But despite winning the first set on a tiebreak and being within a game of going two sets up, Murray’s crack at claiming back-to-back grand slam titles ended in disappointment as Djokovic ran out a 6-7 (2/7) 7-6 (7/3) 6-3 6-2 winner.
The victory handed the world number one his own place in the record books as the first man in the Open era to win three successive Melbourne crowns.
And Murray, who struggled with blisters on his right foot and a hamstring problem, was gracious in defeat.
He said: “I would like to congratulate Novak. His record here is incredible. Very few people have managed to do what he has done here. He is a very well-deserved champion.
“To his team ... I know you can’t do this on your own and he has great people around him. I’d like to thank my team — they’ve done a great job with me.”
The first two sets were similar with very few opportunities offered to the receiver.
Djokovic had the better chances in the first with five break points, only for Murray to serve his way out of danger and win the tiebreak.
It was Murray who was the aggressor in the second as he looked to double his advantage but Djokovic held on and claimed a tiebreak win of his own.
If the opening half of the match was nothing short of gripping, the second half was nothing if not one-sided, as Murray struggled to battle not only his buoyant opponent but also his injuries.
Yet the Scot dismissed suggestions that his problems played a key part in the result and instead blamed his failure to take the chances that came his way.
“Ninety per cent of the players on tour will have played this tournament with some sort of blister or problem,” he said.
“It had no bearing on the result.”
He added: “At this level it can come down to a few points here and there.
“My biggest chance probably came at the start of the second set but I didn’t quite take it. When Novak had his chance at the end of the third he got his.”
For Djokovic, the victory extended his winning run in Melbourne to 21 matches.
“I knew it was going to be physically demanding,” he said following the three-hour, 40-minute contest, “so I needed to hang in there.
“I needed to be the one who dictated the play and I’m really glad that I played my best."
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