Andy Murray booked his place in the BNP Paribas Open semi-final with his 497th career win, eclipsing the previous British record held by Tim Henman. Photograph: Mike Frey/BPI/Rex
Andy Murray is adamant there is no bad blood between him and Novak Djokovic before their semi-final meeting at Indian Wells on Saturday , insisting their reported falling out at the Australian Open was blown out of proportion.
After Murray’s quarter-final victory over Feliciano López at the BNP Paribas Open, his meeting with the world No1 was rubber-stamped when the Australian Bernard Tomic withdrew with a back injury.
It means Djokovic will be the fresher of the two in their first meeting since the Australian Open final in January. Murray blamed himself for losing composure in his four-set defeat, while also suggesting the Serb had exaggerated his tiredness at the end of the second set, which Murray won to level at 1-1.
Murray dismissed claims he and Djokovic are no longer on good terms. On the eve of their 25th career meeting he told the BBC: “I’ve seen Novak a few times since and I have absolutely no issues with Novak at all. Me saying I was distracted turned into this massive thing that me and Novak had some issue with each other, which is certainly not the case, and we never have in the 15 years that we’ve known each other. That was done in my eyes after the final.”
Djokovic’s Australian Open final victory was his fifth in a row against Murray, who has not beaten the Indian Wells defending champion since his Wimbledon triumph in 2013. He trails Djokovic 8-16 in their head to head meetings and Murray admits he must take his chances.
“I don’t think there is one thing in particular, you need to play a very tough match in all areas of the game,” he said. “You need to serve well, return well, and when you get your opportunities hopefully play good tennis on them and executive your tactics.
“You don’t always get loads of chances against the best players in the world so when they do come along you need to play well. Until last year our head to head was pretty close. Last year was a tough year for me, especially the first six, seven months. But he’s top player, especially on this surface. He’s played extremely well here in the past.”
Murray, seeded fourth in California, will be buoyed by carving another slice of history in defeating López 6-4, 6-4 in their quarter-final – it was the 497th win of his career and in doing so he eclipsed the British record held by Tim Henman.
“I didn’t actually know about it until I won my match. I did an interview and found out that I had levelled the record in the previous round but it’s nice,” Murray said. “I grew up watching Tim and he had a fantastic career and was very consistent on the tour so it’s nice to get past that and hopefully I can get a few more.”