Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray In The Australian Open 2011 Final
Novak Djokovic deservedly won his second Australian Open against Andy Murray by 6-4, 6-2 and 6-3.
Novak Djokovic wins Australian Open 2011 against Andy Murray / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST
Here are my thoughts on the match…
First Set – Both players started the match very strong. They made some unforced errors but those were actually shots where they aimed close to the lines and attacked.
Djokovic’s forehand was working really well in attacks while Murray’s forehand worked really well in defense and counter attacks.
Their backhands were almost unmissable as usual. In fact, they missed drive 2 backhands combined in the first 5 games.
Mentally they were both dealing with those few mistakes well although Murray was in a more negative mode. Would that affect his play?
Novak was definitely going for more and for bigger shots in the first set and was mostly successful with that approach. 3 of the 4 points he won in the 7th game were won with forehand winners…
The point at 15:30 at 4:5 for Djokovic on Murray’s serve was the deciding moment that determined the winner of the first set.
It lasted 38 shots of the highest quality you can see in men’s tennis and Djokovic eventually approached the net on a shot that was quite makeable for Murray but in this case Murray’s forehand let him down.
The next point ended rather quickly on an unforced error from Murray’s forehand again and Djokovic took the lead with 6-4.
It took just one double fault in that crucial game at 4:5 at 0:0 in points to set the stage for that game. Just one small weakness on Murray’s part and combined with such high level of play from Novak was enough to determine the winner of that game and eventually the set.
What’s also interesting is that although the set was won very closely at 6-4, there was 35 to 28 difference in points – which is quite a lot for such a tight score.
It just means that Novak was commanding the game much more than Murray.
Second set – The second set started with a relatively easy won service game by Djokovic and then another long fought game on Murray’s serve where Murray played some sloppy tennis and Djokovic never dropped his level from the first set.
He took the lead with a break for 2:0 and held his serve for 3:0.
Murray’s backhand was becoming more unreliable as he committed 5 unforced errors in these first 3 games. He made 5 unforced errors on the backhand in the entire first set (10 games).
The unforced errors continued and Murray lost his game to love.
Note that these missed shots were not shots where Murray risked and attacked. These were neutral rally shots and the only reason why Murray could miss them was loss of concentration.
This could have happened because Andy was thinking too much, was analyzing the game too much or simply became too negative in his internal dialogue.
Djokovic raced to a 5:0 lead not dropping his focus or intensity even slightly as he made only 2 unforced errors and 6 winners in these 5 games.
Murray broke back but was immediately broken again and Djokovic took a commanding 2 sets to 0 lead.
I could not see Murray win this match unless Djokovic dropped his level of play for some strange reason and would be unable to raise back up for the next three sets – which was highly unlikely…
Third set – But the start of the third set showed that Murray would not give up.
Djokovic did experience a letdown after the first two sets and made 3 unforced errors in his first service game (compare that to 6 unforced errors in total he made in the second set!). That was enough for Murray to break Novak’s serve for the first time.
But Murray was simply not able to keep the focus and made some horrible errors on the forehand and an overhead and the players were back on serve.
What Djokovic was demonstrating in this match is that while he used to prefer a more counter punching style in the past, he is now able to be an aggressive baseliner with no weaknesses on each side.
What’s really scary for his opponents is that he is a master of both styles now.
Novak will now dominate from the baseline with powerful groundstrokes which have a lot of margin for error but will defend and neutralize attacks extremely well too.
Rafael Nadal followed the same path in the last 2-3 years where he became a much better attacker and it’s what Andy Murray has to do in order to compete for Grand Slam titles.
Roger Federer on the other hand was always an attacker and had to develop his defensive and counter-punching skills when he became a full time pro in order to have chances with the best. (Roger lost 14 times in the first round of ATP tour in 2000!)
Andy did try to play more aggressively in the third set but just kept missing too many shots. It’s simply lack of practice of an attacking type of play that is the cause of these misses.
The fourth game was another battle royale with Murray saving 4 break points until eventually Djokovic broke him with a fantastic backhand passing shot at full stretch.
Murray then increased the pace of his shots in the next game and knew that he had nothing to lose anymore. Perhaps he should have started the match like that…
It proved to be enough to win some hard fought points and Murray broke back to 2:3. Djokovic did not become disheartened though and kept his focus.
Lady luck was also on Novak’s side this evening as he played a few defensive lobs at full stretch and almost all of them landed right on Murray’s baseline and therefore pushed Andy back in the neutral position.
The game at 3:4 was another key game for that set. It took a long time for Novak to break Andy’s serve but he eventually played that much better and that more focused.
Andy still played good rallies in the next game but his forehand (or most lack of trust in it) let him down for the finishing shot.
You could feel the tension in Novak in the final service game but he fought through it and attacked bravely and smartly and eventually won his second Grand Slam title.
Novak Djokovic was in my opinion by far the best player of the Australian Open 2011 and would most likely win the tournament even if Nadal was healthy.
This could be Novak’s big year as he has no weaknesses on the baseline, is a fantastic mover, is mentally strong and will be even more confident after this win. Congrats Novak!
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9 Responses to “Novak Djokovic Beats Andy Murray In The Australian Open 2011 Final”
January 31st, 2011 at 10:55 am
Your insightful comments are appreciated.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you wrote: “Andy was thinking too much, was analyzing the game too much or simply became too negative in his internal dialogue.” I think it was that combination of all three issues adding up to half of the reason Andy lost the match. I think the other half of the reason Andy lost the match is because Novak did the opposite: Novak won the match because he didn’t over think, didn’t over analyze and didn’t become overly negative in his internal dialogue.
I also agree that Novak would have defeated Rafa had both met in the final of the AO.
On another note, I’d be interested in a article – a guide – about attending Grand Slam tournaments.
Thanks for keeping us informed.
Arturo Hernandez Says:
January 31st, 2011 at 3:18 pm
Very interesting post. Not sure if Djokovic could have beaten a fit Nadal. Nadal has lots of margin and simply matches up to well against Djokovic. But Djokovic is a great player and should win more grandslams.
I did notice that Djokovic missed one forehand approach in the first set. Patrick McEnroe noted that at least Djokovic was attacking. On the very next point, he hit a strong cross-court forehand return from the deuce court off of Murray’s serve. PMac noted that Djokovic was sending a message and that the fact that he attacked even though he missed translated into a more aggressive return on the next point. This allowed him to hit the next return with more conviction. I think Murray needs a coach that teaches him to attack like he did last year at the AO against Nadal. Only then will he learn to grab a grand slam.
January 31st, 2011 at 6:58 pm
Congrats to Novak, he played a great match, equally good in defence and attack and by far the best player in the tournament.
I’d be really interested in your thoughts on Murray’s mental attitude in tight games. Murray’s problems, to me, always stem from his 1st serve. The one shot you have total control over seems to cause him the most problems when under pressure. If Andy is serving around 60% he is incredibly tough to break. He barely got over 40-50% for the whole match so the pressure was immense to hold and then break. He has stated recently that he really put in the hours on serve but it all deserted him in the final yet he had a great tournament up to the final and really toughed it out against Ferrer and Dolgopolov. He is still without a coach and seems more than ever to need the advice of a wise old head to help him mentally.
February 1st, 2011 at 2:41 pm
Thanks for a deep analysis of the AO final match.
Novak is curently in a class of his own:
The part that he improved most is his head! Of course it did not just fallen
out of the skies, but he had some help with this. Just try to find out who is the gray-haired man with beard in Novak’s box. 🙂
Maybe Ana Ivanovic being there also helped 🙂
February 1st, 2011 at 4:30 pm
Murray was not relaxed and seems to play nervously for each point. Novak was relaxed and feeling great. I have noticed that also during official games. the more i get nervous, the more i commit errors. Murray is under tremendous pressure from his fans and the whole UK. Later, he will win a GS if he just play his game with a relaxed mood.
I will be in London to watch Murray by June this year!
More power to yo!
Adolfo Nunez Says:
February 2nd, 2011 at 8:36 am
The most impressive component of Novak’s game, going all the way back to the last US open when he beat Federer in the semis after being down two match points is his ability to bring it to his opponent by swinging freely and going for his shots, while at the same time waiting for the right moment to go for the knock out punch. He did it again extremely well at the Australian Open finals against Murray. He has also shown great deal of progress and maturity on his ability to handle and play under pressure. Something that club players need to learn how to do.
February 4th, 2011 at 12:17 am
Nice analysis. I managed to watched the third set of the Federer-Djokovic match (thanks to time difference and stuff). But what I saw surprised me; in fact it bordered on shock. Federer was sweating and really seemed to have no answer to Novak’s onslaught. Novak was pounding Roger’s backhand and most of the time he (Roger) was having to defend. And no matter where Roger placed the ball, Novak managed to keep the ball in play. Until last year’s AO, he had been suffering from the heat and even when not, he seemed to make more errors. Truth be told I think his defense has improved manifold. I saw the entire finals match and some of the serves of Murray that he received were unbelievable. He ran around, did half-somersaults and what not. And he played with such intensity and focus as I’ve never seen him play. I don’t know if he can maintain the intensity and focus, but if he can, he’s going to be unbeatable. I’d really love to watch a match between a fit Nadal and Djokovic in current form.
June 4th, 2011 at 4:11 pm
Good prediction at the end there, Novak goes the season up till this point (43 games unbeaten), obviously ended yesterday with a fantastic match against Roger.
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July 3rd, 2011 at 3:05 pm
[…] not how Novak started and played the finals of the Australian Open. He was much more aggressive there and here my feeling was that he wanted to play the Wimbledon […]