Murray backing Djokovic in French Open final

Andy Murray says he will be cheering for long-term rival Novak Djokovic as the Serbian tennis star looks to win a record 23rd Grand Slam in the French Open final on Sunday.

Djokovic progressed at Roland-Garros with a 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1 win over Carlos Alcaraz, who battled valiantly despite pulling up early in the third set with cramp, and will now face Casper Ruud or Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final.

Murray skipped the French Open to focus on his Wimbledon preparations and progressed into the semi-finals of the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy with a 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over world No.69 Jason Kubler.

And former world No.1 Murray showed his support for the man he beat to win his first Wimbledon title back in 2013.

“It would be amazing to see him do it on Sunday, I will be supporting him, and I hope he can do it because it is incredible what he has done,” said the three-time Grand Slam winner.

“I think that was Novak’s 45th Grand Slam semi-final which is incredible numbers.

“Obviously the win today for Novak is a big one.

“Alcaraz is obviously going to win multiple slams, I feel like from my experience that when you are coming up against guys who have won 10 or 20 Grand Slams in the final or semi-finals, it is different to competing against those players who have not had those experiences.

“I did not watch the match but the fact that Alcaraz cramped probably suggests that he was feeling some nerves, which is completely normal and understandable in that situation.

 “I was watching a match the other night and playing in the quarter-finals of the French Open or the semi-finals is something that I did regularly, and I loved playing in those matches and playing in huge stadiums like that.

“When I got the opportunity to, I really enjoyed those occasions but yeah, I would like to be playing in the latter stage of those events more.”

While Djokovic has been pushing for a third French Open title, Murray has been the headline act at a thrilling week of action in West London.

It has been a successful week for British hopefuls across the board, with three British women reaching the singles semi-finals for the first time in the tournament’s history.

There had been some criticism of the record of the Brits on tour, with no British women currently inside the top 100 of the rankings for the first time in 15 years.

However, Murray backed his compatriots and called on critics to stop moving the goalposts while measuring success.

He said: “I don’t really know, of course, I would like to see more British players competing at the top of the game because I care about it and I want them to do well, I am just not really sure how you should quantify success when it comes to British tennis or the LTA.

“Before I won Wimbledon, everyone was whinging about not having a Grand Slam champion and that was the problem, but now that Emma won it is about not having enough top 100 players.

“I would just like to see them doing better, winning more matches and competing on the tour when they can.

“I asked it the other day on Twitter, I don’t really know what people think is success for a Grand Slam nation.

“Is it top 100 players? Is it Grand Slam champions? I don’t know what people want, I have spoken to some of the former French players who have had lots of great players in the last 20 or so years but they are wanting more Grand Slam champions.

“They say they would take a Grand Slam champion over having more depth.

“They have had a good week and a lot of them have played really well.

“A lot of them have had quite a few niggly injuries and hopefully they can put that behind them starting with the grass season.

“I know they like playing on these courts so hopefully they can all have a good run and push their ranking up because I think they are all capable of being top 100 players, they just need to be out on the court consistently.”

Murray lost the first set of his semi-final match on a windy centre court at Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club but battled back to win the match in two hours and six minutes.

And the 36-year-old was happy with how he adapted in difficult conditions.

He added: “It is tricky, but I did well to finish it off and I played some good tennis when I needed to.

 “It is just a match that you just need to find a way to get through, it is not so much about the quality of tennis.”I wanted to come and get matches, and obviously I have guaranteed four of them, hopefully, I can get five.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

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