Murray bridges gap to join Grand Slam elite
“Us four, we are taking this game to another level,” said Djokovic. “It’s a privilege to be part of this era. I’m not sure what’s going to happen the next couple of years. Andy winning makes it even more competitive and more interesting for people to watch it.”
In the latest rankings released Monday, Federer (31) who will play in the Davis Cup for Switzerland this week, remains No 1. Djokovic and Murray, who are each taking the next few weeks off, are No 2 and No 3. Nadal (26) – sidelined since July with a knee injury that is expected to keep him out for two more months – is fourth, his lowest ranking since March 2010.
Murray said he arrived at his place in tennis history only because of all the years he suffered against the others. Nadal’s physicality pushed Murray into harder workouts. He studied Federer’s consistency. He watched Djokovic do what he wanted to do, take that next step, from contender to champion.
All of this, said Murray, made him a better player, even as it added to his angst.
“Maybe if I played in another era, I would have won more,” he said. “But I wouldn’t have been as good.”
Murray made his news media rounds in the hours after his seminal triumph and again on Tuesday, admitting on the Today show that he had barely slept. He conducted dozens of interviews and answered hundreds of questions and even cracked a smile or five.
Reporters asked him to find the context in his accomplishment, but he seemed too tired to put it all together the way he had against Djokovic.
He was still processing, said the victor; still trying to make sense of it himself.
As Murray took questions late on Monday on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium, he pointed to the spot where Djokovic’s final shot sailed long.
“I actually thought the return was in when he hit it,” said Murray. “And then, I don’t think he ever challenged it, but it was very close and he hit it so hard. I was just glad it was out.”
He added: “I’ll remember this part of the court for a while.”
In the locker room Murray hugged his coach, Ivan Lendl, the person besides the player most responsible for the events of the past few months.
Someone sprayed champagne over them. Lendl swore, said Murray, “and that was that”.
The Big Three had officially expanded.
New York Times Service