The stage is set for one final tennis titan showdown between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at Geneva Open

Saturday, 18 May 2024 at 15:56
The draw for the Geneva Open was confirmed on Friday and gleamed a potential second round meeting between two players who were long-time rivals and part of the so-called Big Four in Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic is a late addition to the line-up at the Geneva Open as the top seed after accepting a late wildcard. He has been out of form all of 2024 and hasn't reached a final. He lost last week to Alejandro Tabilo. The Geneva Open subsequently reached out to try and get some late star power for the tournament and he accepted.
Pretty much unheard of, Djokovic usually only plays lower level tournaments when he has a vested interest in the event e.g when tournaments have previously taken place in Belgrade. He takes a pretty truncated schedule and as a result only plays Grand Slams and most Masters tournaments. So playing a lower level is a new feat especially at this point in his career. But also is a necessary evil with Djokovic snubbing Madrid and only playing Monte-Carlo. A part of the season that he wants to peak in, he will have a hard time doing so if he continues how he is.
Murray similarly albeit more extreme doesn't play clay usually at all. But played in Bordeaux this week and also will play Geneva next week. He has an aim in mind: the Olympic Games as a potential final swansong. He will play doubles with Dan Evans in Paris with that in mind and is also using a new racquet in an attempt to gain an edge. But albeit he may get the toughest draw going if he wins his opener. That isn't a foregone conclusion though as he takes on Yannick Hanfmann. Given that he lost to Gregoire Barrere in Bordeaux, it won't be a surprise if he doesn't get through. But if he does, a potential final meeting with his adversary awaits.
One that sent tennis tongues wagging certainly on Friday no matter how both are currently playing and it not being 2010-2016 anymore. Murray has often been praised by Djokovic including for being a pivotal part of the Big Four era. A player that in the view of many should've won more Grand Slams if the dominant trio he competed with weren't around. But a player that certainly has held his own.
An incredible rivalry over the years could have one final chapter between Djokovic and Murray.
He will retire seemingly on his own terms after the Summer after heroically returning to the sport after hip resurfacing when he could've just given it up. Murray is a fighter and the same can be said for his clay court return here. He could've taken a meek farewell at Wimbledon solely and got the adulation he is bound to get. But he seemingly doesn't want the easy way out. He wants to toil for something and that beast is clay.
Djokovic very similar in that he could easily just go straight to Roland Garros. But the mark of the man is one where he simply won't quit in getting to his 100% best ahead of it. Matches are the ideal way to do it and it could be against Murray.

Head to Head as Djokovic holds huge lead

They technically last played in 2022 when Novak Djokovic had a walk-over in Madrid. But in terms of actual matches, it would be the first that isn't a walkover since Doha in 2017. They played each other five times alone in 2016. Murray has only won two of the meetings in recent years in the ATP Finals and ATP Masters in Rome upsetting the apple cart amid Djokovic's love affair with Rome.
It would remarkably be though a 37th meeting between the pair over the years. It goes all the way back to 2006 when Djokovic won their first in Madrid. He won the next three. But Murray started to get his own back in 2008 winning in Cincinnati and the final of Miami in 2009.
Some notable wins that Murray holds include the 2012 Olympic Games semi-finals, the 2012 US Open final and the 2013 Wimbledon final. Djokovic though leads their Grand Slam head to head 8-2 and their last major final outside the ATP Finals came in 2016 at the French Open. A tournament won by Djokovic.

A rivalry entrenched in both careers - from doubles partners and juniors to rivals

Djokovic leads on hard courts 20-8 and 5-1 on clay. Murray has won their two matches played on grass. Since the 2013 Wimbledon final won by Murray, the hoodoo has been there with Djokovic winning 14/17 encounters. Almost the same age with Murray only being a week older than Djokovic, they went to training camp together and as juniors they faced off. A match won in the first instance by Murray. They partnered in doubles at the Australian Open and battled for the World No.1 spot. A rivalry entrenched in both of their careers.
One that has seen both talk in glowing terms about each other and one where they will both look back with pride. It could yet have one final chapter. Given their back and forth, it will be one too that both will be up for. All eyes will be on Murray in particular on Monday.

Hanfmann stands in the way of one final battle

He will face Yannick Hanfmann in the opening round with this tie begging and ahead of the tournament will likely be asked or vice versa about this match so will know about it. Whether that spurs him on remains to be seen at this point in their careers. But while we might not get Djokovic v Nadal again, it could be a final chapter of another top rivalry that in reality is more engrained in both of their respective stories perhaps than their own personal battles with the Spaniard or Roger Federer.
One that is underrated as such with most of the attention going on the Big Three and it could oddly have a finality on a clay court in Switzerland at an ATP 250. Aside from if they draw each other at Roland Garros or Wimbledon, then it becomes null and void. But with Murray getting back after injury, it provides a tonic for an interesting week in Geneva.

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