Over the weekend Andy Murray, did what he had never done before, overtake the number one ranking. By making it to the Paris Masters final, Andy became the new number one player on the ATP tour.
For almost a year Murray has been chasing down Novak Djokovic for the number one ranking. It was a difficult journey to the top spot and after Djokovic won this year’s French Open and widened his lead over Murray with more than 7,000 points, it seemed improbable that Andy would catch him. However, after Novak stumbled in the third round at Wimbledon the was a slight crack in the door that Andy could take. That he did!
Andy went on to win the Wimbledon Championships but he did not stop there. Andy then went to Rio where he won the gold medal in singles for the second time (the first ever tennis player to do that). Despite not receiving any ranking points, it was clear that Murray was taking over Djokovic’s spot as the player to beat on the tour. It was also apparent that Novak was fading into the background.
Murray did face some bumps in the road after winning gold in Rio. He lost to Marian Cilic in the Cincy Master Finals and then to Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals at the US Open (after having a two-set lead). But Andy did regain some momentum once the tour was in the Asian swing of the season. Murray won both the China Open and the Shanghai Masters, further closing the gap between himself Djokovic.
At the tournament in Vienna the real pressure began to mount on Andy. To have any chances of overtaking the number one ranking, he had to win that title. Murray channeled that pressure into another title win, showing his determination to get that number one spot.
Finally, the moment had arrived at the Paris Masters where Andy could leave the tournament as the number one player in the world. For that to happen Murray needed to make the finals and have Djokovic lose before the finals. Marian Cilic, who is having a great season himself, made sure the first part happens, defeating Djokovic handily in the quarterfinals. Now the pressure was on Andy to just make the finals.
Andy did indeed make it to the finals. Although, he received a walkover when Milos Raonic pulled out of the semifinals, there was no doubts that Murray earned that number one ranking. Murray went on to win the Paris Masters against surprise finalist John Isner. The Paris Masters by the way is Murray’s fourth title in the row. That brings a total of eight titles for Murray for the year. With the highlight being of course the Wimbledon title and the gold medal in Rio. In addition, Murray also made the finals of the Aussie Open and the French Open (his first final there).
It has been an incredible year for Murray but there is still more work to do. Andy still needs to compete in one more tournament, the World Tour Finals (WTF). At the WTF, where he will play against the top eight players, not only will he be looking to win that title for the first time ever but he will have to fend off the number one ranking against Djokovic. As of this moment a little more than a 1,000 points separate Andy and Novak from each other. If Djokovic can regroup at the WTF and win he will regain the top spot. If Murray can then he will close the year as the top player in the world. Whatever the outcome nothing can take away Murray’s triumph atop the game and hopefully there will be more to come.
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