The 2016 Men’s Final was a match up of Andy Murray, who is to be a father soon, and Novak Djokovic, who is seeking a record 6th Australian Open title. Both were coming off strong victories on their road to the final, but Djokovic just outlasted Murray in a straight sets victory 6-1 7-5 7-6. Let’s see how Djokovic was able to stay as dominant as he had been the whole tournament, and what Murray lacked.
For Djokovic, he really needs to focus on is his attitude. He is good on all sides, with no weaknesses in his defense, offense, or net play. The only thing that can let him down is his attitude. Once he gets frustrated, he no longer seems invincible to his opponent and the opponent will gain confidence. Strategy-wise, he needs to make sure he dominates the center of the court with his forehand. For Murray, he needs to really go for his shots. Murray tactically is just as good as Djokovic, but his shots are less penetrating. So he has to be aggressive to win, including having a bigger second serve and attacking Djokovic’s backhand. Now let’s get into what played out.
Starting with Djokovic in the first set, he was very aggressive with his forehand. He would pull Murray out on the backhand side and he would get a short ball to easily put away. When on the run, Djokovic would use his amazing defensive skills and sometimes throw in a deep slice to reset the rallies. The only thing that was not going for Djokovic in his dominant first set was that his backhand was not fully clicking yet. For Murray, he was not trying to be aggressive enough and instead was trying to get into longer rallies. Because Djokovic knows that is what Murray wants, Djokovic is aggressive and does not allow Murray to hit deep and have longer rallies. One thing Murray did well though in the first set is that he attacked Djokovic’s second serve, but he missed quite a few of them.
In the second set, Djokovic was reading Murray’s serve remarkably well. If he could tell by the toss or was just guessing, he was able to get to the first serves faster and set up for a better return. Because of this, Murray was pressured to hit bigger serves which led him to double fault more. Overall, Djokovic stayed solid throughout the set, with very few errors, so Murray really had to fight to win every point. One reason why the set was closer though is because Djokovic started to be less aggressive, and allowed Murray to get what he wanted, which was long rallies. On Murray’s side, he had a much better set. He begins to move his feet more, and was really trying to be the aggressor in the rallies. His serves and his backhand also improved throughout the set. He still lost the set because of a few issues. First, he sliced unnecessarily and a lot of times it cost him the point. Also, he was not looking to move forward, and did not take advantage of short balls that Djokovic hit, and allowed Novak to stay in the rallies. But overall he really just lost the set from a lack of focus on a few shots.
In the last set of the match, Djokovic was Djokovic. All his shots were working, and his defensive skills were amazing. However, sometimes he relied too much on his defense. Instead of being offensive, which should have been his strategy, he gave Murray some short balls, and Murray finally picked it up and began to take advantage. At the start, Murray had a very low energy, but he picked it up at the end and started to go to the net more. He also began to grind out his forehand more, but he just couldn’t outlast Djokovic and ended up being defeated quite easily in the third set tiebreaker.
Overall, Djokovic started out stronger than he ended. In the beginning, he was the aggressor, not allowing Murray to get in long rallies. At the end, however, he began to depend too much on his defense and allowed Murray to step in and be aggressive. On Murray’s side, he started out worse than he ended. In the beginning, his energy was low and he was hoping Djokovic would miss, which rarely happens. However, at the end, Murray began to have a higher energy and started to look for shorter balls and be aggressive with his forehand. In the end, Murray just can’ t outlast Djokovic, which led Djokovic to his record 6th Australian Open Title. Read this blog Andy, and you might have a shot at beating Novak next time!