Novak Djokovic: five ways Andy Murray will fall to his compatriot as greatest player of his

Novak Djokovic has won nine Grand Slam titles

BBC Sport looks at five ways Novak Djokovic will aim to overhaul Andy Murray as the greatest player of his generation.

Dominant but now vulnerable

At 29, Djokovic is older than his fellow countryman and Wimbledon champion. While Murray has already secured two Grand Slams, he has yet to add another to his trophy cabinet.

His first major title came in 2008, following a run to the final of the Australian Open.

Djokovic won a third Grand Slam at the French Open in 2013, but followed that triumph with a career-high ranking of world number one.

He was also seemingly unbeatable when he won the Wimbledon title in 2016 and, at the peak of his powers, sat at four times more in the world rankings than Murray.

Djokovic soon returned to world number two, the upper reaches of his career attained with great ease.

The points bulge at the end of his 2016 season was a moment of clarity, though, as a rare dip in form and injury forced him to withdraw from the Olympics, US Open and semi-finals of the Australian Open.

However, he still achieved his first number one ranking since 2011 and remained in the top three until being overtaken by Murray in July.

He has made an encouraging start to the new season, winning his first title of 2017 in Toronto and finishing runner-up to Roger Federer at the Cincinnati Masters.

No prizes for guessing who he will have to beat at the US Open to secure that Grand Slam number one spot for the fifth time.

Djokovic is currently ranked third in the world

Staying fresh for longer

Murray was back to his best as he stormed into the Australian Open final only to lose to Stan Wawrinka in four sets.

The Scot’s subsequent troubles came at the hands of Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic at Wimbledon, which prompted him to scrap a post-Wimbledon tennis camp in Miami in favour of a busy start to the second half of the season.

It led to the appointment of Dani Vallverdu as his coach, while Daniil Medvedev swapped from Murray’s hitting partner to Djokovic’s in July.

While Murray’s results have been patchy – he lost his first two Masters Series titles on clay – Djokovic appears to have benefited from the change.

The 11-time Grand Slam champion won his first title of 2017 at the Italian Open and followed that with a win at Wimbledon.

But it was his win at the Rogers Cup in Canada that suggests Djokovic may now have reached a new peak.

Murray had a fourth-round exit at the Cincinnati Masters while playing for the first time in a month.

The world number one will hope that the wrist injury that saw him pull out of the tournament is not serious as he prepares for the US Open.

He would be within touching distance of ending Djokovic’s long hold on the number one ranking if he can capitalise on his recent form.

‘Djokovic is massive’

Former world number one Mats Wilander said: “Djokovic has many skills, but he’s not a good mind player.

“He’s a guy that does his homework, then comes up with a great shot.

“But it’s not like he’s found a new way to win matches. And Murray, I think, has found a new way to win matches that is unique to him.

“He finds a way of playing and controlling the match, and he plays long games – 90 minutes, maybe even 100 minutes.

“It’s not just playing. He’ll be attacking me, attack Ivanovic. He’s also going to go for it.

“So, he’s big. He’s tough to play against.”

BBC Sport’s Josh Gardner said: “Djokovic is a player with so many tools in his armoury that anyone would struggle to consistently defeat him.

“He has been the undisputed ‘next big thing’ since he was a teenager.

“His career has been teetering on the verge of collapse for most of the last year – and for a brief period of time, it appeared the match would be the demise of the Serb as well.”

BBC Sport’s Nabil Hassan said: “While the comeback has been admirable, winning is not what excites Djokovic or his team.

“They want to win tournaments with tournaments at a high level.

“This is how they will want to see his name on the list of Grand Slams that are played, and Djokovic has to be in the frame to achieve that, as his long and glittering career enters its twilight.”

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