Djokovic ready to go to war with Murray again


Novak Djokovic is prepared to go to war with Andy Murray once again when they meet in the final of a grand slam for the seventh time at Roland Garros.

The top two players in the world booked their spots in the French Open showpiece on Friday, as Djokovic made short work of Dominic Thiem and Murray dethroned 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in some style.

World number one Djokovic holds a 4-2 advantage from the pair's six previous major finals, but Murray won when they met on the clay in the final of the Rome Masters last month and will be full of confidence after dismantling Wawrinka on Court Phillipe Chatrier.

And Djokovic - who is again one match away from completing the career Grand Slam after Wawrinka denied him in Paris last year - is anticipating a hard-fought battle in what will be his 34th match against the Briton on Sunday.

Speaking after his imperious performance against Thiem, Djokovic told a news conference: "Well, we've played two finals already on clay court tournaments in Madrid and Rome back to back. We split wins.

"He came back from two-set deficit in the first round [at Roland Garros], and second round also winning in five sets. You know, he's a fighter. He has improved so much on the clay court over the years. This season is a great example of that.

"I'm sure that it's going to be a final with a lot of emotions and a lot of exchanges from the baseline because we have similar styles of game. 

"I know his game; he knows mine. I'm sure we're both going to try to give it all on Sunday."

Djokovic has not lost to Murray at a slam since the 2013 Wimbledon final, a sequence that includes a five-set victory in last year's French Open semis and a straight-sets win in the 2016 Australian Open decider.

However, the Serbian does not feel he goes into this weekend as a clear favourite.

"We have split wins lately. I think in the last 12 months or so he's beaten me probably three times, I beat him maybe one more or two more," the 11-time slam champion added.

"I think he's one of the most dedicated tennis players on the tour. He always seeks to improve his game and get better, which I do, too.

"So I think looking at our history of the first time we played against each other and ever since we met when we were 11 years old all the way until now, if we knew back then that we were going to fight for the biggest trophies in this sport, I think we would both sign the document.

"It's pretty nice that our rivalry has evolved over the years. I don't think that there is any particular advantage to my side. I think mentally when we step on the court, sure, maybe to some extent, some small percentage, but he's playing in great form. 

"We haven't played in Roland Garros too many times. We played I think last year in five sets. I remember that match very well.

"Let's see. It's another grand-slam title up for grabs for both Andy and myself. One thing for sure I know that I can expect when I get on court with him is it's going to be a very physical battle, which always is the case.

"That's why the day off [Saturday] will definitely serve me well."