Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic receive their trophies in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday. Murry placed second. Picture: REUTERS/NASEEM ZEITOON
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic receive their trophies in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday. Murry placed second. Picture: REUTERS/NASEEM ZEITOON

Doha — Andy Murray dismissed the idea that his defeat by arch rival Novak Djokovic in the Qatar Open will affect his attempts to win the Australian Open for the first time.

The world No1 lost 6-3 5-7 6-4 to the Serb in an early season classic.

It was the Briton’s first defeat in 29 competitive matches.

But Murray said it would mean little when he soon begins his latest attempt to win the title in Melbourne where he has agonisingly lost five finals.

"I still think I have a chance of winning the Australian Open after tonight [Saturday night]," he said after the defeat in Doha.

"I don’t think that changes. It’s disappointing to lose for sure. I have a chance to win the Australian Open still."

Murray lost Melbourne finals in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016, four of those to Djokovic.

Despite the defeat in the Doha final, Murray said that he had gained much from the week-long tournament.

"Physically it was a good test to start the year, and I did good here," he said.

"My body feels all right just now, so that’s positive.

"[I] Still think there are things I can do better.

"You know, I wasn’t that clinical on break points this week, which maybe comes with playing a few more matches."

Djokovic, who has won the Australian Open five times in the last six years, said Doha had provided perfect preparation for the Melbourne tournament.

"[It was the] Best scenario I could ask for [at the] beginning of the season," he said.

"Playing five matches in this tournament and then three hours against the number one of the world, biggest rival, and winning in a thrilling marathon match is something that definitely can serve as a positive incentive for what’s coming up in Australia."

The world No2 also said that he expected further battles against Murray, possibly in the final in Melbourne.

"I hope we are going to play against each other. We make each other work hard and improve and continuously work on our games and ourselves. We strive to get better, both of us."

With six titles already, if Djokovic manages to win again in Melbourne in 2017, he will go down in history as the player who has won the most Australian Opens.

A seventh victory would pull him one clear of Roy Emerson, who also won six titles but in the amateur era.

The Australian Open begins on January 16.

AFP

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