'Heartbreak' for Andy Murray as Djokovic wins Aussie Open
After a confident beginning, the Scot seemed to lose concentration - and ended the match exhausted
BRITAIN'S tennis fans were disappointed today when Andy Murray lost the men's singles final of the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic. The Scot took the first set in a tie-breaker but the Serbian world number one rallied and went on to win 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Fans had high hopes for the Briton - and so did he. The Guardian's tennis correspondent, Kevin Mitchell, said Murray had "utterly believed after beating Roger Federer in the semi-final that he had Djokovic's measure".
The Daily Mail said the two men were "initially evenly-matched, steadily trading blows in a series of long rallies". However, Murray "began to falter immediately after the Serbian drew level".
The second set was the crunch, agreed former British number one John Lloyd. He told the BBC: "If Murray had found a way to get that second set we might have been saying something different. Once it was 1-1, Djokovic went up another level.
"Djokovic has that extra gear. It looked like he could play for another five hours. Murray seemed to be struggling towards the end."
Defeat ends Murray's dream of being the first player in the history of the game to win his second grand slam trophy immediately after winning his first. It leaves Djokovic the first player to win the Australian Open three times consecutively since 1987.
The Serb said: "It's an incredible feeling winning this trophy again. It's definitely my favourite Grand Slam, my most successful Grand Slam. I love this court."
Mitchell added that it was "cruel" to see Murray "cut down by a failure to his body that was not entirely of his making" with the "big toe on his right foot swathed in bandages and a tight hamstring tugging at him too".
But Murray was clear that the toe played no part in his loss, said The Daily Telegraph. "It's a bit sore when you're running around [but] it's not something that stops you from playing. I very rarely get blisters but 90 per cent of players will have played with one or a problem."
The Sunday Times reports that there was "heartbreak" in Murray's home town of Dunblane where the streets were "deserted" as the match played out on the other side of the globe.
One fan watching in a hotel bar said the result was "gutting" but another added: "I’m proud of him, proud he’s from Dunblane, proud he’s Scottish, proud he’s British. We’ll support him no matter what."