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Djokovic expected Murray setback
Novak Djokovic was not surprised Andy Murray found it impossible to replicate his Wimbledon heroics at the US Open.
The defending champion was well below his best all tournament and was no match for an inspired Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals in New York.
It was not so much that Murray lost but the manner of it that shocked many people, with the Scot winning just nine games across three sets and failing to create a single break point.
Murray was a shadow of the player that beat Djokovic in straight sets in the Wimbledon final two months ago and he admitted he had found it hard to fire himself up.
Djokovic said: "It's never easy after you win a grand slam to motivate yourself again to play smaller tournaments and then to prepare yourself again to be mentally, physically, emotionally 100 per cent committed to another grand slam that is basically just a month and a half after his biggest win in his career, which is Wimbledon.
"I have been in this particular situation. I know how it feels. But this is tennis. You definitely learn always something new every single season and you grow as a person and as a player.
"That kind of a mindset to always try to get better on the court, off the court, helped me to understand what I need to do in order to stay number one, in order to always try to win the grand slam titles.
"Because it's a huge competition. All the top players are very consistent. In order to be in the mix for number one in the world or a contender for a major title, you have to be giving everything that you have."
The defeat was Murray's worst since losing to Wawrinka in the third round of the US Open three years ago.
He did, though, maintain his record of having reached at least the quarter-finals at every grand slam tournament he has played since then.
And Murray was keeping the loss in perspective after what has been an incredible 13 months, a period that has seen him win an Olympic gold medal, the US Open and Wimbledon.
He said: "I don't know if I'm meant to win every grand slam I play or be in the final - it's very, very difficult just now. With the guys around us, it's very challenging.
"I have played my best tennis in the slams the last two, three years. I lost in straight sets, so that's disappointing. I would have liked to have gone further.
"But I can't complain. If someone told me before the US Open last year I would have been here as defending champion having won Wimbledon and Olympic gold, I would have taken that 100 per cent.
"So I'm disappointed but the year as a whole has been a good one."
Murray was asked numerous times about the experience of defending a grand slam title for the first time, while he will have another chance at Wimbledon next year.
He said: "I think that had zero bearing on the match.
"It was my fifth match of the tournament, so I thought I handled it okay. It was a new experience for me and something that was good to go through, and I will learn from that for next time."
Murray wasted no time in returning home but he will be back in action next weekend as Great Britain take on Croatia in the Davis Cup.
Last year, pulling on a GB shirt for the Olympics provided the perfect antidote to his Wimbledon final loss and Murray will hope guiding Britain back to the World Group can have a similar effect.
"I need to take a few days' rest and then get practising on the clay courts and hopefully we can win the match," he said.