LONDON, Apr 17 (Reuters) – Live tennis is a fading memory of the coronavirus crisis, but 20,000 fans went online on Friday to watch a virtual heads-up on Instagram between two old rivals: Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Sitting on the sofas of their homes, the tennis stars spent an entertaining hour remembering some of their 36 matches, amid jokes and some sincere reflections on their brilliant careers.
When asked about the most painful defeats, they both chose a showdown with each other.
“For me it was the final of the French Open against you in 2016,” Briton Murray, who also touched glory five times at the Australian Open, told Djokovic.
Djokovic said his losses in the 2012 and 2008 Olympics in the semifinals against Murray and Rafa Nadal were two of the hardest shots, along with the loss to Juan Martín del Potro in the first round of the Rio 2016 Games.
“Maybe that match against you in London, or the semifinal against Rafa in Beijing (in 2008),” said Djokovic, who has never been able to win an Olympic gold and has had to settle for the bronze medal achieved in Beijing.
When asked to search for the perfect player if they could combine different strokes and styles, they both chose each other in order to have a better return serve.
“If I earned a point in my first serve against you, I celebrated like I won a set,” said Djokovic, who has won 17 Grand Slam titles, about his 32-year-old colleague.
Both also praised the serves of John Isner or Nick Kyrgios, while Murray highlighted the right of Nadal and Djokovic that of Roger Federer.
As expected, they agreed on which player is mentally harder: Nadal.
“It’s like going to the court to face a gladiator,” said Djokovic.
When asked by an amateur what he would have done instead of playing tennis, Djokovic said he would have liked to be a scientist, while Murray said, “It would be great to be a doctor because you do something important at times like this.”
(Report by Martyn Herman. Edited in Spanish by Rodrigo Charme)