Birthday Boy Murray Claims Historic Rome Title
Murray earns his 12th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy
Andy Murray celebrated his 29th birthday by lifting the Internazionali BNL d'Italia title. He is the first British man to win at the Foro Italico since Patrick Hughes in 1931.
Murray, who will return to No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, defeated four-time champion No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-3 in the final for his 12th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy. It broke Djokovic's 17-match winning streak against Top 10 opponents. The Scot earned 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €717,315 in prize money with his first ATP World Tour title since July 2015 at the Rogers Cup in Montreal (d. Djokovic). He is now 22-5 on the season.
"It's mostly great players that have won this event, so I'm very proud to have my name on the trophy," Murray said. "Today against Novak it was nice. I know he didn't play his best today. But there were still some tough moments for me in the second set. I saved the break points well and held strong. And overall it was a great week for me. I didn't lose a set."
For the second time in eight days, Djokovic and Murray battled for a Masters 1000 title. The Scot released his rival's grip on the FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, which had seen Djokovic win 12 of their previous 13 encounters after lifting the Mutua Madrid Open trophy. Overall, the Serb owns a 23-10 advantage.
Masters 1000 Title Leaders
Murray broke Djokovic in the fourth game of the 47-minute first set, which was contested in light drizzle. The Scot saved three break points prior to breaking Djokovic for a 3-2 lead in the second set. Murray then hit a running backhand winner to break Djokovic to 15 and complete his 10th win in their 34-match series. It was also his first victory over Djokovic on clay.
Had Djokovic won, the Serbian would have become the first tennis player to exceed $100,000,000 in prize money and extend his own record with a 30th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 singles title.
Djokovic earned 600 points and €351,715 in prize money. He is currently tied at No. 7 on the all-time titles leaders list with Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras on 64 crowns. The World No. 1 is now 37-3 on the season, which includes five titles.
"I had a long couple of weeks, especially the last couple of days," said Djokovic. "I knew it's going to be very hard for me, an uphill ride against Andy today, who was playing throughout the week at a very high level. To compete with him in long exchanges and rallies that we do have in our encounters, they require a lot more energy and better performance from my side which didn't happen.
"Not taking anything away from Andy's win. On the contrary, I think he deserved to win and deserved to win the entire tournament, because he was the best player. He was the player that played in the best form throughout the entire tournament."