Novak Djokovic has paid tribute to his long-time rival Andy Murray, saying he will “always cherish our amazing matches”.
The pair, who were born just a week apart and have seen their careers mirror each other in several ways, first competed against each other as juniors 18 years ago.
Djokovic wrote on Instagram: “Tarbes, France 2001, “Les Petite As”. First time we met and played. Something was telling me back then that we’d have an amazing rivalry and experience of playing each other on the biggest stage for many years to come.
“What you are trying to do is nothing short of brave and inspiring. I met with you the other day and couldn’t really verbalise my compassion for what you’re going through.
“As an athlete, fellow tennis player and friend, I respect and fully support you every second of this Australian Open and every next attempt to compete at the highest level.
“Whatever happens, I will always cherish our amazing matches over the years and be grateful for those experiences. Big hug Andy, stay strong.”
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