Novak Djokovic recalls: 'I have known Andy Murray since we were 12'
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 5243
Finishing the previous season on the verge of the top-15, Novak Djokovic was ready to rumble in 2007. The young Serb kicked off the action with the title in Adelaide and reached the fourth round at the Australian Open. Mikhail Youzhny toppled him under the roof in Marseille and Rotterdam before Novak arranged another clash with Federer in Dubai.
The youngster took a set in the quarter-final before losing in three sets to propel the Swiss through. Entering the season's first Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells, Djokovic advanced to his first semi-final at that level, playing well in the opening four rounds and winning all encounters in straight sets.
Novak got broken three times against Robby Ginepri in the first clash but beat the American 6-4, 6-4. The Serb dominated on serve and return to give only seven games away versus Evgeny Korolev and Julien Benneteau and race into the last eight.
In the quarters, Djokovic defeated world no. 15 David Ferrer 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 17 minutes for the best result at the premium ATP level, losing 17 points in ten service games and suffering one break from four chances offered to David.
On the other hand, Novak notched three breaks to have the upper hand and enter the last four. The Serb would face his coeval and a good friend Andy Murray in a battle for the final, facing him for the second time on the Tour.
Before the encounter, Novak said he and Andy had known each other since they were 12, battling on the junior level and in Madrid last fall. Also, they practiced together many times and played the doubles in Australia a couple of years ago.
Novak Djokovic played against Andy Murray in the 2007 Indian Wells SF.
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to facing Andy Murray in the semis if he wins later today. There is no pressure ahead of that match. I knew I would have to face the rivals from the top all the time, just trying to play my game and stay focused.
It does not matter that much who is on the other side of the net. Andy Murray, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, and I have improved a lot in the past year and a half; it's good for tennis to have some new faces. We are also very emotional, and that attracts people.
Tennis is an individual sport, and we all look our way. It does not matter who is ahead or behind me, but it's good for the game to have more youngsters around. I have known Andy since we were 12, and we have practiced together.
We played against each other in juniors a couple of times and once on the Tour, last year in Madrid. It was a difficult match, and I won it. As I said, I'm trying my best to improve volleys and come to the net more often. The players are speedy and are returning much better than some 15 years ago; the game has changed," Novak Djokovic said.