MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia fought off Scotland’s Andy Murray in five sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-1, 7-5Â in a semifinal on Friday nightÂ which lasted into Saturday morning, to gain a berth in his third Australian Open final. The match lasted 4 hours and 50 minutes. Djokovic will take on Rafael Nadal for the title on Sunday.
Djokovic appeared to have breathing problems and looked tired in his match with Murray. He was also having breathing issues in his quarterfinal match against David Ferrer.
“I’ve seen doctor and I’ve talked with some people, said Djokovic I don’t know.Â I’ve talked with couple of players that have a little allergy problems this year in Australia for now reason, ones they didn’t have in last couple years but they had reactions this year.
“I suppose that’s my problem, as well.Â I’ve been trying to, you know, do everything possible to clear that out.Â But, you know, we are all surrounded with the flowers.Â It’s really difficult to take that away.Â But still, you know, I mean, no excuses.
“It was very physical from both sides, from both players all the way through the end.Â For these kind of matches, you really practice all your life to be able to be a winner out of five sets.”
In a courtside interview spoke about the match,”It’s difficult to describe. I was trying to focus on every point. It was a physical match. It was almost five hours. It was one of the best matches I played. Emotionally and mentally it was hard.
“We were always trying to hold our serves. It felt like we were breaking each other easier than serving it out.
“Andy deserved the credit to come back into the match … Thank you guys for staying this late and hopefully be entertained.”
Â “I mean, it was obviously a very good match”, said the beaten Murray.Â “Yeah, I mean, I had the chance at 5â€‘All, one of the points.Â I missed a backhand into the net.
“But if you look at the stats from that game, it was probably like four or five deuces.Â He missed one first serve.
“Again, he served really well on those points, so he was able to dictate them, which when I was getting myself into the rallies, I was dictating a lot of the points.
“Yeah, it was tough at the end ’cause, you know, obviously you come back, then you get close to breaking.Â To lose, yeah, it’s tough.
“But a different player, a different attitude to this time last year.Â Yeah, I’m proud of the way I fought.”
“I didn’t think he played that well at the start,” said Murray.Â I thought I was poor the first set.Â Then I started to play better and managed to turn around the second set playing better, and the third set, some of the points in the second and third set, they were brutal.Â They were so long.
“I guess it was maybe normal there was a letdown in the fourth set.Â That was something that I would have liked to have done better, though.Â I would have liked to have played a better fourth set, got off to a better start.Â That would have helped.
“But physically both of us were obviously tired.Â You know, once you get behind in a set, you have to weigh out whether it’s worth trying to get yourself back into it or saving yourself for a fifth set.
“It was an upâ€‘andâ€‘down match.Â Both of us played well.Â He was just a little bit better.”
Djokovic on his final match against Nadal for the title on Sunday,”Yet again, I’m repeating that physically I need to be fit.Â I know that I maybe have a mental edge because I’ve won six finals the five or six times we played in 2011 and I’ve had lots of success against him.
“On the other hand, it’s a new year.Â It’s a new challenge. Â It’s a different situation.Â As I said, he has maybe a day advantage over me for recovery and for getting ready for the finals.
“That’s going to be my main priority and concern the next day and a half, to physically be able to perform my best and be ready to play five sets.
“If I am able to do that, then I can believe that I can win.
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News