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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic said he was very sorry because he didn't get a chance to go against Andy Murray as he called the Briton one of his greatest rivals. 

Djokovic and Murray were scheduled to meet in the Madrid round-of-16 on Thursday but the match never happened because the Briton was forced to give a walkover due to food poisoning. 

Djokovic and Murray were expected to meet for the first time since January 2017. 

Djokovic leads the head-to-head versus Murray 25-11 and the two have had a number of big battles over the years. 

"Andy, first of all, is a great champion, someone I admire a lot, someone I respect a lot. We had some great encounters over the years on all different surfaces. We played finals of every Slam, I think. He's the only player I've played against in every final (of Slam). Might be the case with Rafa as well. He's definitely next to Rafa and Roger, the greatest rivals I ever had," Djokovic said on Tennis Channel, as quoted on Sportskeeda. 

Djokovic was looking forward to meeting Murray again

In the 2017 Doha final, Djokovic overcame Murray in tight three sets. 

It seems unreal that there hasn't been a single match between Murray and Djokovic since then. 

"I'm very sorry that he was not able to come out on the court. Obviously, it's not great for the tournament, for our sport. Everyone was looking forward to that encounter. We haven't played each other, in like, five years. But hopefully, we'll get a chance to play soon," Djokovic added. 

Even before Djokovic and Murray turned pro and became one of the best players on the ATP Tour, they knew each other very well. 

"I think there is something special to our rivalry (because of the fact that) we are of the same age, only one month difference between us in age. We grew up together. The first match we played against each other was under-12 in France in junior tournament. We go back a long time," Djokovic revealed. 

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