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Murray thanks Djokovic for raising the bar

ESPN staff
October 10, 2011 « Walcott not taking England place for granted | Chartbeat test »

Andy Murray has paid tribute to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic for forcing him to work harder on the practice court.

Murray, who came from a set down to beat top seed Rafael Nadal to win his first Japan Open title, has seen his close friend and rival Djokovic rocket to the top of the world rankings this season, with the Serb winning 64 of his 67 matches in 2011.

Back-to-back titles in Thailand and Tokyo have seen Murray close the gap on world No. 3 Roger Federer, and should the Scot defend his Shanghai Masters title this week, he would overtake the Swiss in the ATP rankings.

As Nadal paid tribute to an "unstoppable" Murray, the Spaniard admitted only Djokovic had matched the level that Murray reached in the Tokyo final as he swept past the 10-time grand slam champion 6-0 in the final set.

Murray admitted Djokovic's success this season acted as a wake-up call for the British No. 1, who capped a superb week, returning to the court to scoop the doubles title with brother Jamie in Tokyo.

"Djokovic has set the bar really high with the way he's played this year, so I'm having to do the best I can if I'm going to contend with these guys," Murray said. "What was pleasing this week, playing singles and doubles, was that my fitness held up so well.

"Against Rafa, I had a couple of chances in the first set and was going for a little bit too much and too close to the lines, but after the break the roles reversed and I was dictating with high percentages tennis."

Tomas Berdych boosted his chances of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals in London, after his victory at the China Open saw him climb up to seventh in the rankings.

Meanwhile in the women's rankings, Agnieszka Radwanska moved back into the top ten after winning back-to-back titles in the Far East - her victory in Beijing coming just seven days after her title in Tokyo.

ATP Tour Rankings
1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Rafael Nadal (ESP), 3. Roger Federer (SUI), 4. Andy Murray (GBR), 5. David Ferrer (ESP), 6. Robin Soderling (SWE), 7. Tomas Berdych (CZE), 8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 9. Mardy Fish (USA), 10. Gael Monfils (FRA),

WTA Tour Rankings
1. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), 2. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 3. Victoria Azarenka (BLR), 4. Petra Kvitova (CZE), 5. Vera Zvonareva (RUS), 6. Sam Stosur (AUS), 7. Li Na (CHN), 8. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), 9. Andrea Petkovic (GER), 10. Kim Clijsters (BEL)

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