- Last Updated: 4:07 AM, September 11, 2012
- Posted: 2:59 AM, September 11, 2012
Novak Djokovic walked away from his five-set loss to Andy Murray in last night’s U.S. Open final bitterly disappointed at not successfully defending the title he won last year or adding a sixth Grand Slam title to his remarkable resume.
But he, too, came away impressed with what has now become a “Big Four’’ in men’s tennis, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and now Murray having each won a Grand Slam this year.
Murray’s win now plants him firmly in the middle of the conversation about the best players in the world.
“Us four are taking the game to another level,’’ Djokovic said. “It’s really nice to be a part of such a strong men’s tennis era. It’s a privilege to be a part of this era. ... It’s obvious that the four of us, we get to the latter stages of every single Grand Slam. Andy winning makes it even more competitive and more interesting for people to watch.’’
Djokovic, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, was one win away from cementing himself as the clear-cut Player of the Year, having won two Slams. Really, he was one set away.But, despite erasing a two-set deficit to Murray, Djokovic fell short of successfully defending his title.
“Any loss is a bad loss,’’ the gracious Djokovic said. “I really tried to fight my way back but I had a great opponent. Andy deserved to win the Grand Slam more than anybody. “ It was really tough to come back. I’m satisfied and proud of my achievement.’’
The 25-year-old Serb, who was playing in his ninth career Grand Slam final and seeking his sixth title, was the clear favorite to beat Murray, entering the match with a 27-match winning streak on hard courts and having won the last three Grand Slams on hard courts.
But Murray staved him off after losing the second and third sets 6-2, 6-3 to win the fifth 6-2.
Djokovic’s achievements in 2011 were remarkable, winning three Grand Slam events and ascending to No. 1 in the world. It was always going to be difficult to repeat 2011 in 2012.
“Everything worked for him,’’ said Djokovic’s coach, Marian Vajda. “He made history to break through and be No. 1.’’
Though his 2012 was not as dominant as the year before, Djokovic still has a 60-11 match record this year, including 35-4 on hard courts.
“I played really well in the third and the fourth and had a little bit of a slow start in the fifth and that cost me the victory.’’
Murray quickly broke Djokovic in the fifth and raced to a 3-0 lead and he easily closed the match out from there.Follow @NYPostsports