Stamina key as Murray, Djokovic head for French Open showdown

Sat Jun 4, 2016 10:52am EDT
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By John Stonestreet

PARIS (Reuters) - The reputations of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray as the fittest men in tennis will be rigorously tested when they slug it out on Sunday for the French Open title, at the end of a tournament in which endurance has been a prime asset.

With both men hitting peak form in emphatic semi-final wins, mental strength looks likely to decide a final given added spice by an array of historic landmarks that will fall by the wayside irrespective of who wins.

Over two weeks of often attritional tennis invariably played in damp, cold conditions and with heavy balls, Murray -- bidding to become the first British man to win in Paris since 1935 -- has put his body through close to 18 hours on court over 24 sets.

Djokovic, also seeking his first title in Paris to become the first man in almost 50 years to hold all four majors at once, has played five hours and five sets fewer.

But the rain delays that have ravaged the tournament meant the Serbian played four days in succession up to Friday and denied him the usual rest days associated with grand slams.

"When I get on the court with (Murray) it's going to be a very physical battle," Djokovic said after Friday's three-set demolition of Austrian tyro Dominic Thiem. "That's why the day off (on Saturday) will definitely serve me well."

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Tennis - French Open Mens Singles Semifinal match - Roland Garros - Novak Djokovic of Serbia v Dominic Thiem of Austria - Paris, France - 03/06/16. Novak Djokovic returns a shot. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen