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Coach Becker fears Murray is on course to surpass Djokovic

By Tom Allnutt

Novak Djokovic’s coach Boris Becker admits the Serb’s supremacy is under threat from Andy Murray.

Djokovic began the defence of his US Open title against Poland’s big-serving Jerzy Janowicz last night, knowing all eyes are on both his fitness and form.

The World No.1 endured surprise early exits at both Wimbledon and the Olympics this summer, before admitting on Friday that a wrist injury could also hamper his bid in New York.

Murray, meanwhile, has gone from strength to strength, winning both at SW19 and in Brazil, putting him as many observer’s favourite at Flushing Meadows to seal a fourth Major triumph.

Djokovic may yet prove his doubters wrong but with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal also struggling with injury, it appears Murray’s time may have arrived.

“I see him really challenging Djokovic’s supremacy in the next few Grand Slams,” Becker said.

“The year 2016 seems to have been a bit of a change-of-guard type of year for men’s tennis.

“With Roger missing out on Paris and New York and Nadal also grappling with fitness issues, the Big Four seems to have been reduced to the Big Two with Novak and Andy really developing a great rivalry.

“What I think has changed for Murray is that maturity and stability has come into his life. The first big watershed was the London Olympics followed by the US Open win in 2012.

“However, he has not won as many Slams as he would have liked since 2013. This Wimbledon and Olympic gold shows that he is now less pressured and in control of the mental side.”

Djokovic came through an hour-long practice session on Sunday, but he regularly winced on the follow through of his serve and a smashed a ball into the air in frustration.

“He has admitted to a wrist strain at Wimbledon,” Becker said. “However, he is the defending champion so he’s training to protect his silverware.”

Murray, in the opposite half of the draw to the 12-time Slam winner, faces Lukas Rosol tonight and the Scot has downplayed the effect his rival’s injury could have on his own chances.

John McEnroe, however, believes Djokovic admitting that he is struggling can only inspire belief in his rivals. “Maybe it’s not that bad,” he said. “I was shocked. It makes wheels start turning and I think, for a lot of players, they may think they have a better shot now.”

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