Tennis fans couldn’t ask for a better match to end the season. Not only did fans get to see the two best players in the world face off (both on paper and from results this year), they got to see those two players battle for the number one ranking. It’s been quite a long time (2000) had the number one ranking on the ATP be decided in the last match of the season.
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic met for the final time this year at the O2 arena in London. The two played for the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals championships, a tournament that included the top eight ranked players in the world. It was a different path to the finals for the two top players in the world. Djokovic came into the final red hot, after not losing a match and just a single set in the round-robin format of the tournament. Meanwhile Murray entered the final after being pushed to the brink in the last two matches he played. So, even though Murray has been the more consistent player in the second half of the season, Djokovic entered with a slight edge.
However, it appears Murray did not get that memo. Murray taking a page for the Novak book was a wall in the rallies between the players, making Djokovic hit ball after ball. For the first three games fans saw solid rallies, with Murray having two opportunities to break. Eventually Murray did break the Djokovic serve at 5-3 all, winning the set on his next service game. In the second the set Murray raced to 4-1 lead. A combination of great defense from Andy and errors from Djokovic was the cause of this. Djokovic made the match a little interesting by breaking back but in the end Murray walked away with a 6-3, 6-4 win. Not exactly the high-quality match expected but proof of the dominance of Andy Murray.
The win led to many first for the Scot. It was the first-time Andy had made the final in London (shocking considering he has the hometown advantage), let alone win. As stated repeatedly, the win solidified the number one ranking for the year for Murray, also a first for him. More importantly it capped an incredible season for Andy who walked away with nine titles, one which included another Wimbledon title and one which included another Olympic gold medal.
Andy now enters the 2017 as the top dog and it will be interested in seeing how he deals with the pressure as number one. If it is anything like how he handled the pressure at the 02 arena, tennis players and fans better prepare themselves for the reign of Murray.
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