Pressure on Djokovic - Mauresmo

Amelie Mauresmo, pictured, says the pressure is on Novak Djokovic rather than Andy Murray for their US Open quarter-final

Amelie Mauresmo, pictured, says the pressure is on Novak Djokovic rather than Andy Murray for their US Open quarter-final

First published in National Sport © by

Amelie Mauresmo believes Andy Murray should be able to play freely against Novak Djokovic in their US Open quarter-final because the pressure is on the world number one's shoulders.

The long-time rivals headline the night session on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday in their first grand slam clash since last year's Wimbledon final.

It is also the first time Murray has faced one of his big-four rivals at a slam since hiring Mauresmo as his coach ahead of the grass-court season.

The Scot goes into the match having got one monkey off his back by beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round to take his first top-10 scalp in more than a year.

Mauresmo told Press Association Sport: "For me the most important thing is how he played. I think it's the best match I've seen him play since I came into the team.

"He should be satisfied about it. The level is going up towards the second week of the tournament. He definitely has to now look forward to the next one.

"I think he should really go out there and express fully what he's capable of doing. The pressure is probably a little bit more on Novak, which is normal, he won Wimbledon.

"Even if he didn't have a great summer, he showed from the beginning here that he's ready for these big ones. I think it's definitely one to embrace."

Murray did a good job of staying positive throughout the match against Tsonga, recovering quickly from lapses at the start of the second and third sets.

There was still plenty of shouting and swearing, some in the direction of Mauresmo and the rest of his team.

The former world number one was coy about whether she will try to curb Murray's on-court behaviour, as predecessor Ivan Lendl did to a certain extent, but revealed the two have discussed it.

"I think it's his way of dealing with things," she said. "He knows himself pretty well now and I think he knows how to handle himself on the court. We're talking about it sometimes but it's not a big deal."

Wednesday's match will be the earliest ever meeting at a grand slam between the pair, and Murray will draw on the memories of the two greatest days of his career.

Djokovic leads the overall head-to-head 12-8 and won their only previous match this season in Miami in straight sets.

But their last three clashes at slams all came in finals, and Murray won two of them - the five-set epic in New York in 2012 that finally broke his grand slam duck and then last summer's emotional Wimbledon victory.

"They obviously will help," said Murray. "I wouldn't say in terms of getting confidence, it's just having that experience of playing those matches.

"They were both very long, tough matches, as well. So I know that I can last those matches against him. But anything can happen in a couple of days. I'll just do everything properly and hope on Wednesday I play a good match."

Djokovic came into the tournament with doubts over his form but has looked the most impressive player so far and is yet to drop a set.

Although Murray has not reached a final in any tournament this season, Djokovic is expecting his old rival to bring his best form on Wednesday.

"We all know his quality," said the Wimbledon champion.

"He knows how to play on centre court at the US Open where he has played some great tennis and we've had some great matches. It's a very tough draw. I'm going to have to be playing my highest level in order to advance.

"I think he performs his best in the grand slams. He's been on and off this year but I think in the big matches, as the tournament progresses, he's still fit. He still plays very high-quality tennis. That's what I expect him to do."

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