Murray defiant despite defeat
“As soon as the referee blows his final whistle, Josep is an unassuming and very likeable guy. In a word, he is humble.”
The critics — ‘He has had nothing on a plate’
In November 2001, while a player at Brescia, Guardiola was banned from playing for four months and received a £30,000 fine for failing two drugs tests. He continued to protest his innocence and was finally cleared of all charges in 2009.
“There have been times when he has been attacked from all sides. There have been journalists who have not liked him and when there was the whole doping saga in Italy he had to show great strength not to decide to quit the game but rather to continue because he was clean and he wanted to prove that. And that is what happened — he was cleared.
“There were times when he had a headache and his mother would say ‘take an aspirin’ and he would refuse, in case it affected his blood tests — and they say he was guilty of doping.
“That was very tough for him, but his response was to fight and fight - and that is the same approach he has with football. It is part of his nature, never to lower his guard.
“It is not like he has been given anything on a plate — when he first started at Barcelona he had to prove himself as there were those who had their doubts and told him to go back home. So he achieved it all through his own hard work.” Guardiola at City “They can expect to see someone with great humanity. They will be very happy because he has never disrespected anyone; he is very well-mannered and polite. To use a Catalan expression, ‘he won’t be taking anyone for a ride’.
“Winning, winning. That is what drove him. Winning but also playing football in a certain way, because at the clubs he was at his style changed the way the team played. Passing, passing, passing then at the right moment, bam, in the goal! None of the longball stuff. He never liked that.
“They can be sure that 24 hours a day he will be focused on football — on their next opponents, on tactics. For 24 hours a day he will be looking at ways to bring success to his team. I am certain about that.” — BBC MELBOURNE — Andy Murray insisted he wasn’t far away from matching Novak Djokovic despite his fourth defeat to the runaway world number one in the Australian Open final.
Murray paid the price for a slow start as he went down 6-1, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) in a onesided men’s final Sunday which only underlined the Serb’s supremacy.
But Murray said he felt he remained in touch with Djokovic despite their widening head-to-head statistics.
“I don’t know how far off I was tonight. The first set, you know, I wasn’t there, but the second and third sets I do think were very close,” said the British world number two.
“I do think I could have played a bit better. I didn’t think I hit my forehand as well as I could have done. When I did in the third set that helped me out a lot.
“I was able to get myself into the net more. I was able to play more offensive tennis then.
“I mean, most of the matches we played in Slams I think have been competitive. Whether that looks the same from the outside or not, I don’t know.”
Murray’s latest defeat to Djokovic made him only the second man in the Open era - after Ivan Lendl, his former coach - to lose five finals at the same Grand Slam tournament.
Murray lost to Roger Federer in the 2010 final, and he was also runner-up in 2011, 2013, 2015 and now 2016, watching Djokovic lift the winner’s trophy each time.
His head-to-head record with the Serb moves to 22-9 in Djokovic’s favour, including 11 of their last 12 matches and their last four Grand Slam meetings, going back to Murray’s Wimbledon win in 2013.
Murray and Djokovic, both 28, were born a week apart and have known each other since their junior days, and while they are both at the top of men’s tennis it is the Serb who has accelerated in front.
Djokovic has 11 Grand Slam titles to Murray’s two, 61 career trophies to 35 and $97 million in prize money compared to $44 million for the Scot. — AFP