Andy Murray reacts to Novak Djokovic's ATP Finals defeat to Dominic Thiem

Andy Murray believes that Novak Djokovic hasn’t been totally mentally focused at the end of his season but says he deserves a ‘bit of a break’ from criticism after a narrow defeat to Dominic Thiem.

Murray, the former world No. 1 from Dunblane, had backed current No. 1 Djokovic to win the ATP Finals but he was stopped in his tracks in the semi-finals by an inspired Thiem.

Thiem, who faces Daniil Medvedev in Sunday night’s final, had four matches in the second set but Djokovic clawed his way back into the contest and led 4-0 in a deciding set tiebreak.

Unfortunately for the Serb, Thiem did not roll over and won the next six points before clinching a famous 7-5 6-7 (10-12) 7-6 (7-5) win.

Murray thinks Djokovic’s shot choices have been a little awry in the latter stages of the season – notably at the French Open and again this week at the O2 – and questioned how mentally tuned in he’s been.

However, he also pointed out that this was far from a poor week for the 17-time Grand Slam champion, who is still pushing the world’s best players all the way and going deep in tournaments even if he’s not totally on his game.

‘I think that’s one of the things – I’ve been through that at times through my career where mentally you’re not totally there and totally focused that one of the things that goes can be the shot selection in the important moments,’ said Murray in a Twitch chat with Gael Monfils. ‘The slightly wrong choices in the wrong moment.

‘That’s the thing that Novak over his whole career but esepcially the last five, six years – he’s been better than anyone at that. Very rarely chooses the wrong option or wrong shot. Making the wrong choices – that’s not something you’d associate with him.

‘This week and maybe through the French Open a bit, for me, as well, in the final it felt like he was trying to shorten the points quite a lot and then the same this week.

‘I didn’t see that much of the match against Zverev but definitely against Medvedev and a little bit today [vs Thiem] as well.

‘But still, he put himself in a position to win the match against someone who’s playing unbelievably well.

‘I think because everyone: the players, media, Novak himself, ex-players, whatever… we have such high expectations for him that losing in the semi-finals 7-6 in the third when 4-0 up in the tiebreak is considered not a good result but for every other player pretty much on tour, that would be a really, really good week.

‘Sometimes with those guys we need to give them a bit of a break. You can’t win every week, you can’t play your best every week and mentally you can’t always be perfect so yeah, it’s been another good year for him but maybe he didn’t finish it as well as he liked.’

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