Andy Murray completes golden era's 'Big Four', insists Djokovic
Five-time grand slam winner says Britain's new Olympic champion is part of game's 'golden era'
Reuters in Ohio
It has been an ongoing debate in the tennis world - does the current "golden era" for the game feature a "Big Three" or a "Big Four" including Andy Murray?
Some have argued only three - Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic - count, given that Murray has yet to win a grand slam tournament.
But after the Briton's heroic showing in defeat by Federer in the Wimbledon final and then his Olympic final triumph over the Swiss world No 1, the question is being posed anew.
Talking of the "golden era" the game is going through, five-time grand slam singles champion Djokovic casually referred to a leading four. "You have four players who are I think winning 90 per cent of all the major tournaments that you have on the tour," the Serb said ahead of his opening match at this week's Cincinnati Masters. "I mean, so many titles and so much competition going on and so many great rivalries, great matches, history and all these things that are, I think, making this era a golden era."
But does that make for a "Big Four"?
Djokovic seems to think so.
"There were different kinds of talk with the rivalries between Roger and Rafa, between me and Rafa, me and Roger, and then Andy. So there is really no story that I can say, 'Okay, that's the right one'," the 25-year-old said of the debate.
"Andy was always part of that group of the top players. For about the last four, five years he's been in top four in the world. Now he has won the Olympic Games. He's played a couple of grand slam finals, so he deserves to be up there."
After breaking down in tears following his draining defeat in the Wimbledon final, Murray rode the wave of British Olympic success by getting his revenge over the Swiss and winning the gold medal game.
"It was definitely an impressive performance from him at Wimbledon and at the Olympic Games even more," Djokovic said. "He always has pressure when he plays in London, in Britain.
"It's huge pressure on him. But I guess he's going to agree that over the years you get that necessary experience to know how to cope with that certain pressure."
Murray and Djokovic, who clinched the Toronto Masters on Sunday, have been drawn in the same half of the draw in Cincinnati.
Djokovic was set to face Italian Andreas Seppi in his opening match while defending champion Murray is up against American Sam Querrey, who beat Austrian Juergen Melzer 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Tuesday.