Novak Djokovic explains why Andy Murray rivalry is more 'special' than Nadal and Federer

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Djokovic and Murray set up their 37th meeting and their first since the Dubai 2017 final with their second-round victories in Madrid, and were set to face off first on Manolo Santana stadium on Thursday before the world No 78 was forced to withdraw hours before with an illness. It meant the top seed advanced to the quarter-final and he opened up on his rivalry with the Brit after their match fell through.

“Well Andy first of all is a great champion, someone I admire a lot, someone I respect a lot,” he told Tennis Channel, speaking after the third-round clash was called off. “We had some great encounters over the years on all different surfaces, we played finals of every Grand Slam.”

The pair battled for Grand Slam titles and the world No 1 ranking several years ago and the Serb claimed Murray was up there with Nadal and Federer as his most significant rivals but admitted his rivalry with the Brit was the most “special” of the three.“I mean he’s definitely next to, next to Rafa and Roger, the greatest rival I ever had and I think there is something special to our rivalry, the fact that we are the same age,” he explained.

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