Why is there a 17 Slam difference between Djokovic and Murray?

Kralingen

Legend
Two players in Novak and Andy who have so many striking similarities, it's hard to believe.

Born a week apart (May 15/22nd, 1987), both stand around 6'2.5", both have outstanding backhands, both incredible movers and defensive players, both primarily baseliners, both amazing returners, both possessing incredible fitness and shot consistency. Both broke out and reached major finals in 2008, both prefer HC and have won Wimbledon, and both were members of the 'Big 4'.

In terms of two ATG level players, Andy and Novak to me are the most similar ever - and frighteningly were born just a week apart.

I've read many times on this forum that Murray even possesses some advantages over Novak: he has been called a better returner of big servers, a faster first serve, much better touch and slice, better volleys, and even better tactical awareness and tennis IQ. All of these are largely consensus if you read older threads such as this: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/ranking-the-big-4-in-each-department.605410/

He was even regarded to have more potential than Novak pre-2010, given his performances over Bo3 and finals runs in 2010 Australia and USO 2008.

There is no excuse of 'weak era' or 'technology difference' or 'match-up issues' - they played the exact same field at the exact same time in the exact same era of tennis. They are as comparable as any two players could possibly be.

So what makes the difference, between the 3 Slams for Andy and the 20 Slams for Novak? Or - if we want to exclude injury luck - the 3 Slams for Andy and 12 Slams for Novak before Andy's hip injury?
 

vive le beau jeu !

Talk Tennis Guru
Two players in Novak and Andy who have so many striking similarities, it's hard to believe.

Born a week apart (May 15/22nd, 1987), both stand around 6'2.5", both have outstanding backhands, both incredible movers and defensive players, both primarily baseliners, both amazing returners, both possessing incredible fitness and shot consistency. Both broke out and reached major finals in 2008, both prefer HC and have won Wimbledon, and both were members of the 'Big 4'.

In terms of two ATG level players, Andy and Novak to me are the most similar ever - and frighteningly were born just a week apart.

I've read many times on this forum that Murray even possesses some advantages over Novak: he has been called a better returner of big servers, a faster first serve, much better touch and slice, better volleys, and even better tactical awareness and tennis IQ. All of these are largely consensus if you read older threads such as this: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/ranking-the-big-4-in-each-department.605410/

He was even regarded to have more potential than Novak pre-2010, given his performances over Bo3 and finals runs in 2010 Australia and USO 2008.

There is no excuse of 'weak era' or 'technology difference' or 'match-up issues' - they played the exact same field at the exact same time in the exact same era of tennis. They are as comparable as any two players could possibly be.

So what makes the difference, between the 3 Slams for Andy and the 20 Slams for Novak? Or - if we want to exclude injury luck - the 3 Slams for Andy and 12 Slams for Novak before Andy's hip injury?
 

DjokoLand

Hall of Fame
Two players in Novak and Andy who have so many striking similarities, it's hard to believe.

Born a week apart (May 15/22nd, 1987), both stand around 6'2.5", both have outstanding backhands, both incredible movers and defensive players, both primarily baseliners, both amazing returners, both possessing incredible fitness and shot consistency. Both broke out and reached major finals in 2008, both prefer HC and have won Wimbledon, and both were members of the 'Big 4'.

In terms of two ATG level players, Andy and Novak to me are the most similar ever - and frighteningly were born just a week apart.

I've read many times on this forum that Murray even possesses some advantages over Novak: he has been called a better returner of big servers, a faster first serve, much better touch and slice, better volleys, and even better tactical awareness and tennis IQ. All of these are largely consensus if you read older threads such as this: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/ranking-the-big-4-in-each-department.605410/

He was even regarded to have more potential than Novak pre-2010, given his performances over Bo3 and finals runs in 2010 Australia and USO 2008.

There is no excuse of 'weak era' or 'technology difference' or 'match-up issues' - they played the exact same field at the exact same time in the exact same era of tennis. They are as comparable as any two players could possibly be.

So what makes the difference, between the 3 Slams for Andy and the 20 Slams for Novak? Or - if we want to exclude injury luck - the 3 Slams for Andy and 12 Slams for Novak before Andy's hip injury?
You are saying they are comparable but that’s the problem Djokovic does everything better.
Also you are comparing them pre 2011. Djokovic was a great player but then went up in level after 2010 that Murray couldn’t.
Djokovic weaknesses pre 2011 where fitness, serve and mental strength. He fixed them, Andy didn’t have obvious weaknesses so he was close to his highest level in 2010 so he barely improved
 

spottishwood

Semi-Pro
Two players in Novak and Andy who have so many striking similarities, it's hard to believe.

Born a week apart (May 15/22nd, 1987), both stand around 6'2.5", both have outstanding backhands, both incredible movers and defensive players, both primarily baseliners, both amazing returners, both possessing incredible fitness and shot consistency. Both broke out and reached major finals in 2008, both prefer HC and have won Wimbledon, and both were members of the 'Big 4'.

In terms of two ATG level players, Andy and Novak to me are the most similar ever - and frighteningly were born just a week apart.

I've read many times on this forum that Murray even possesses some advantages over Novak: he has been called a better returner of big servers, a faster first serve, much better touch and slice, better volleys, and even better tactical awareness and tennis IQ. All of these are largely consensus if you read older threads such as this: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/ranking-the-big-4-in-each-department.605410/

He was even regarded to have more potential than Novak pre-2010, given his performances over Bo3 and finals runs in 2010 Australia and USO 2008.

There is no excuse of 'weak era' or 'technology difference' or 'match-up issues' - they played the exact same field at the exact same time in the exact same era of tennis. They are as comparable as any two players could possibly be.

So what makes the difference, between the 3 Slams for Andy and the 20 Slams for Novak? Or - if we want to exclude injury luck - the 3 Slams for Andy and 12 Slams for Novak before Andy's hip injury?
It's like the difference between becker and sampras. Difference between Novak and Andy is a bit wider than them.
 

Kralingen

Legend
It's like the difference between becker and sampras. Difference between Novak and Andy is a bit winder than them.
eh, Sampras was in an entirely different league than Becker physically. His movement and explosiveness are far greater than Becker's.

Plus a guy like Becker didn't care about professionalism, unlike Pete who was a spartan when it came to training. These are obvious differences which don't exist in the Murray-Djoko comparison.
 

Turing

Rookie
Inconsistent first serve, weak second serve, weak FH. Serve and FH have always been the most important shots. Lack that and you're going to have to be several degrees better in other areas in order to make up for it and be truly great, and Murray wasn't.
 

spottishwood

Semi-Pro
eh, Sampras was in an entirely different league than Becker physically. His movement and explosiveness are far greater than Becker's.

Plus a guy like Becker didn't care about professionalism, unlike Pete who was a spartan when it came to training. These are obvious differences which don't exist in the Murray-Djoko comparison.
But there are a bit different things here. Novak was mentally far more stable than Murray. Murray had a Tommy Haas like forehand. In case of Becker and Sampras, you can't determine the better one looking at their shots. Both had very good serves, sampras had a little bit better, becker had a bit better netplay(some will disagree), sampras had better forehand, becker had a better backhand. Their physical and mental difference brought the real thing. And Becker at least peaked at times when he could go toe to toe with anybody. Andy lacked that sort of thing, or maybe he got injured in his peak?
 

accidental

Hall of Fame
Murray was no.1 when he had his most severe hip injury in 2016. If he remained in that form I am sure he would have won another 2-3 slams at least in the next few years, and maybe stopped Djokovic winning a few. They would be much closer in slam count if things played out that way
 

zvelf

Hall of Fame
Two players in Novak and Andy who have so many striking similarities, it's hard to believe.

Born a week apart (May 15/22nd, 1987), both stand around 6'2.5", both have outstanding backhands, both incredible movers and defensive players, both primarily baseliners, both amazing returners, both possessing incredible fitness and shot consistency. Both broke out and reached major finals in 2008, both prefer HC and have won Wimbledon, and both were members of the 'Big 4'.

In terms of two ATG level players, Andy and Novak to me are the most similar ever - and frighteningly were born just a week apart.

I've read many times on this forum that Murray even possesses some advantages over Novak: he has been called a better returner of big servers, a faster first serve, much better touch and slice, better volleys, and even better tactical awareness and tennis IQ. All of these are largely consensus if you read older threads such as this: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/ranking-the-big-4-in-each-department.605410/

He was even regarded to have more potential than Novak pre-2010, given his performances over Bo3 and finals runs in 2010 Australia and USO 2008.

There is no excuse of 'weak era' or 'technology difference' or 'match-up issues' - they played the exact same field at the exact same time in the exact same era of tennis. They are as comparable as any two players could possibly be.

So what makes the difference, between the 3 Slams for Andy and the 20 Slams for Novak? Or - if we want to exclude injury luck - the 3 Slams for Andy and 12 Slams for Novak before Andy's hip injury?
As has been said, where Djokovic is most superior to Murray is mental strength and a better forehand. He's also more consistent from match to match. From the observations stated, I'd say that Murray doesn't actually have "better touch" or "better tactical awareness and tennis IQ" than Djokovic either. Put all of these together and where you see the biggest difference is that Djokovic could tame Rafa 30-28 while Murray went 7-17 against Nadal.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Murray also was 9-2 vs Big 3 on hardcourt during the stretch in 2008-2009 before he got injured when he was already #2 behind only fast-falling Fed.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Murray also was 9-2 vs Big 3 on hardcourt during the stretch in 2008-2009 before he got injured when he was already #2 behind only fast-falling Fed.
Exactly, and peak for peak 2012-2013 Murray went 2-2 vs. Djokovic in Slams along with winning at the Olympics.

It's clear that he was able to overcome the serve+FH issues at periods in his career. What do you think the difference is?
 

DjokoLand

Hall of Fame
As has been said, where Djokovic is most superior to Murray is mental strength and a better forehand. He's also more consistent from match to match. From the observations stated, I'd say that Murray doesn't actually have "better touch" or "better tactical awareness and tennis IQ" than Djokovic either. Put all of these together and where you see the biggest difference is that Djokovic could tame Rafa 30-28 while Murray went 7-17 against Nadal.
Too be fair he said before 2011 and Djokovic at one point was 4-14 against Nadal. Djokovic just pre 2011 had the fitness and mental issues that kept him close to Murray when he fixed that he ran off on him. Also Djokovic has improved his FH and Serve more than Murray
 

Keizer

Hall of Fame
Murray changed his forehand mechanics sometime in 2009 or so. His takeback became much more abbreviated. He also lowered swingweight at the same time I believe.

Honestly think the reason he is so far behind is the second serve, just horrible compared to other top players. His forehand was worse than theirs but not by as much. Djokovic’s second serve, especially by the mid 2010s is a strength, not a liability. Can’t say the same for Murray.

On the flip side, Murray’s slice and racquet skills are far better than Djokovic’s. Sadly those skills are not as valuable in today’s game.
 

fundrazer

Legend
When you think about how most of the all time greats play, they have the ability to dominate or take control of matches. Murray never really could do this on his own except for a select few of his matches (08 US Open with Nadal being a good one).

As for reasons why? Mentioned enough already, but even on his best serving days he was probably 60%, more often than not he serves 50%. Super weak second serve, tendency to play too passively, and he's a headcase. And other than that backhand laser cross that he sometimes hits, he doesn't have a killer shot.
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
But how so? What specifically makes the difference? What in their playstyle is responsible for such a gap in success?
FH, 2nd serve, BH DTL, court positioning and re-directing pace. Novak dictates rallies more off both sides and is a better counter-puncher, which means despite all the gumby stuff he does on court, the other guy is usually doing even more running (even if it may not appear so). Murray is much more of a scrapper who runs everything down and usually had a 5 setter in early rounds even in some of his best slam runs. Even in the ROS department where Murray is terrific (he gets more 1st serves in play than any other guy I've seen), it's again Novak who's a more aggressive returner.

Why did Murray have more success was able to go toe-to-toe against the big 3 in 2012-2013? Because he actually had a FH under Lendl, for that period it was actually a weapon.
 

Tennisbg

Professional
The differences between top players are very small. Playing your best when it matters is what decides matches. Djokovic does exactly this, he also has better 2nd serve and better stamina,.
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
My answer to op - Djokovic is just better player with far better mentality. Whiner like Murray who get distracted by feather of all things can never dream of winning 20 slams. He never had that much ability - that is another point though.
 

Kralingen

Legend
Murray has a lousy 2nd serve that’s probably costed him at least 2-3 slams.
I do think I've never seen a player who has more of a mentality shift between 1st and 2nd serve than Murray. He gets visibly upset between the 1st/2nd serve transition and seems to have no confidence whatsoever in the 2nd .

Tonight vs. Ruud he was actively yelling, slouching his shoulders, and thrown off mentally whenever he missed a 1st serve on a big point. You never ever see that from a proven winner.

What is wrong in his 2nd serve mechanics that makes it so poor? How was this never corrected? It seems like the simplest thing to fix.
 

Enceladus

Legend
Djoker has better serve (especially the second one), better / stronger FH (Andy's FH is slower than Ostapenko's FH), is mentally stronger and has a better transition from defense to attack.
 

MS_07

Rookie
Two players in Novak and Andy who have so many striking similarities, it's hard to believe.

Born a week apart (May 15/22nd, 1987), both stand around 6'2.5", both have outstanding backhands, both incredible movers and defensive players, both primarily baseliners, both amazing returners, both possessing incredible fitness and shot consistency. Both broke out and reached major finals in 2008, both prefer HC and have won Wimbledon, and both were members of the 'Big 4'.

In terms of two ATG level players, Andy and Novak to me are the most similar ever - and frighteningly were born just a week apart.

I've read many times on this forum that Murray even possesses some advantages over Novak: he has been called a better returner of big servers, a faster first serve, much better touch and slice, better volleys, and even better tactical awareness and tennis IQ. All of these are largely consensus if you read older threads such as this: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/ranking-the-big-4-in-each-department.605410/

He was even regarded to have more potential than Novak pre-2010, given his performances over Bo3 and finals runs in 2010 Australia and USO 2008.

There is no excuse of 'weak era' or 'technology difference' or 'match-up issues' - they played the exact same field at the exact same time in the exact same era of tennis. They are as comparable as any two players could possibly be.

So what makes the difference, between the 3 Slams for Andy and the 20 Slams for Novak? Or - if we want to exclude injury luck - the 3 Slams for Andy and 12 Slams for Novak before Andy's hip injury?
Mentallliitttyyy

joker wanted to be a overall no.1 tennis player aged 3 or 4.

murray was like i will play great and win a slam/become no.1 may be. he got more talent. but not the mindset.

all of today's so called ~30 y.o. and below next genners lack exactly this thing. that's why they suck.

each slam taken by 30+ y.o. should sting like a bee/scorpion/tarantula to next genners. but they simply don't care. they're just happy with their millions.
 

gadge

Professional
I don’t believe Murray is tactically superior to Novak. The only advantage Murray had was probably touch. Novak has a far more reliable second serve, better forehand and mentally a lot tougher. Although both are defensive players, Novak doesn’t play defensive against the other big 3, he plays fairly offensive game with great defence.

Novak is also better than pretty much everyone on the tour when pushed to the corners.
 

InsideOut900

Hall of Fame
Born a week apart (May 15/22nd, 1987), both stand around 6'2.5", both have outstanding backhands, both incredible movers and defensive players, both primarily baseliners, both amazing returners, both possessing incredible fitness and shot consistency. Both broke out and reached major finals in 2008, both prefer HC and have won Wimbledon, and both were members of the 'Big 4'.

In terms of two ATG level players, Andy and Novak to me are the most similar ever - and frighteningly were born just a week apart.
It's enough to look at the difference in their clay prowess to realize they are not the same player.

Djokovic's game is fundamentally superior because of the flexibility and variety in his groundstrokes.
He can play both flat and with spin, he can generate better angles and he can redirect the ball better.

Andy's game is more predictable and therefore, easier to counter and does not allow for ATG level tennis as a result.
 

aman92

Hall of Fame
Although I do largely agree with OP.. It does seem Djokovic has overachieved and Murray underachieved when you compare their respective strengths and initial career progression
 
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Ray Mercer

Hall of Fame
Murray’s forehand and second serve were weak and he played too passively. He also got down on himself way too often. Djokovic does everything better except the slice backhand, touch volleys and probably overheads.
 

Wurm

Semi-Pro
What is wrong in his 2nd serve mechanics that makes it so poor? How was this never corrected? It seems like the simplest thing to fix.
So... this video popped up on my YouTube recommendations a while ago. I didn't watch much of it but one thing popped out to me...


Sometime after that he switched to his current pinpoint serve and I'm going to speculate that the root of the problem lies there. It's a technically proficient looking serve when he's 13/14 so why did he change? It might explain why his first serve ended a bit of an inconsistent slap and his second serve tended to look over-rotated - echoes of learning the platform serve in his childhood?
 

Picmun

Hall of Fame
Lets face it, Murray is just a bin man bum - period.

Total rubbish, the fact he never won anything ever on the big stage confirms this.
He never beat peak Nedal, on clay, in Nedals' own back yard.
He never beat peak Federer, unless Fed just deliberately threw the match.
( And We all know Fed does this all the time )
And Murray certainly never ever thrashed Djokovic, in straights, at that meaningless little exho in SW19.
And Murray never ever ever beat Djoke AND Fed back to back to win a worthless Olympic gold medal.
They were never interested in the Olympics anyway.

I mean come on !!? What has the Bin Man actually ever achieved ever ?

He's just a total loser really.
( Yes I'm a TTW contributor, and I talk continuous sh1te waffle )

 
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