Murray Targets Long Reign At The Top
Having worked relentlessly to reach the summit of the tennis world, Andy Murray is determined to hang on to No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
The 29-year-old dismantled Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals showdown to end the season on a 24-match winning streak to finish 2016 as the year-end No. 1 for the first time in his career. The Scot has won an ATP World Tour leading nine titles this campaign, with a career-best 78-9 match record, but is under no illusions over the size of the task to remain No. 1
“I would like to try and stay there, obviously. It's taken a huge effort the last five, six months to get there,” said Murray at The O2 arena after Sunday’s triumph. “I would obviously like to stay there. I'm aware that's going to be extremely difficult because I had a great year this year. I only managed to do it by one match. To repeat that again next year is going to be extremely difficult.
Murray is also aware that the Next Gen are going to be forcing their way into contention for the top honours. “I want to try and achieve as much as I can these next few years because I'm not going to be around forever,” reflected Murray, who also cinched a second Wimbledon title and Olympic gold medal in 2016. “I'm not going to be able to play at this level and play this many matches into my mid-30s. The young guys are going to keep improving and getting better.”
An enthralled crowd at The O2 arena witnessed Murray halt Djokovic’s four-year reign at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday. The Serbian possessed a 24-10 Fedex Head2Head over Murray before the London finale, which made the victory even more special.
“He’s been my main rival really throughout my career. We’ve played in all of the slam finals, Olympics, obviously here now, and a match to finish the year No. 1. We played in loads of Masters 1000 Series finals, as well, and are one week apart in age,” said Murray. “It obviously a very important win for me. It was just a huge match to finish the year, to try and finish No. 1. This is a major event, as well, and one I've not done well in in the past. So it's been a great week.”
Having prevailed in the record longest Barclays ATP World Tour Finals match on Saturday, in his pulsating 3hr38minutes semi-final victory over Milos Raonic, Murray admitted he felt “sluggish” in practice just before taking on Djokovic.
“I was lucky I got it finished in two sets, I didn’t feel great this morning. Also I don't think that was one of Novak's best matches. I think we have played better matches together,” added the Scot. “The end of the match was exciting and dramatic. There were mistakes from both of us but I think tactically I played a good match.
“Yeah, it was obviously a good performance. You never beat a player as good as Novak if you don't play well.”
Having captured his maiden Barclays ATP World Tour Finals trophy, Murray will head out on Monday night to celebrate with family and friends to toast a landmark victory.
“I'm happy for my team, as well, because they put a lot of work into getting me ready for these matches. I've lost a lot of them over the years,” said Murray. “It's nice and I'm happy for them that I managed to win a big one like this. Mentally that will give me a boost going into next year, as well.”
In archetypical Murray fashion, he is already preparing to put in the hard graft to compete in 2017, and he’ll fly to Miami in a fortnight to begin winter training. “It's going to be hard, but I'll try to keep going.”