Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lawn Tennis: Murray Can Be a Great - Djokovic; World Number Three Backs Andy to Break into Top Five

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lawn Tennis: Murray Can Be a Great - Djokovic; World Number Three Backs Andy to Break into Top Five

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ronnie Elspin

WORLD number three Novak Djokovic has no doubt Andy Murray can join him in the world's top five.

There are several similarities in the careers of the two 20-year-olds -not least the fact both had their breakthrough years in 2005 and started 2007 within striking distance of the top 10.

But while Djokovic took the game by storm as he emerged as the man most likely to break the grand slam duopoly held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Murray was plagued by a series of back and wrist injuries. However, Djokovic - the Australian Open's ninth seed - believes Murray only needs to stay healthy to break into the top five.

"I think that's realistic, in my opinion, because he's very talented player and he has a lot of potential," said Djokovic, who was born seven days after Murray.

"I have known him all my life. Last year he had these problems with the injuries. It was not easy for him to hang in there. He almost reached the Masters. He was just one match away.

2He wants to prove himself. I think he's going to make it. Of course, if he stays clear of the injuries and remains healthy, he has all the elements and all the things he needs to be there, to be a top-five player. I think he proved that many times in the past two years."

Murray's name was not, though, among those nominated by Federer and former world number one Lleyton Hewitt as the player to beat at Melbourne Park. Federer, not surprisingly, listed world number two and great rival Nadal as his biggest threat, as did Hewitt, who also believes Andy Roddick and Djokovic were genuine contenders.

"They're probably the main guys," said the Australian. "There's a whole group of guys under it. You look at the last couple of years -(Marcos) Baghdatis, (Fernando) Gonzalez coming through and making finals. There's a potential for those guys, for a couple of guys to sneak through, as well. …

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