After a decade long wait, wracked with tumultuous ups and downs, Britain’s Andy Murray is finally the number one tennis player in the world.
The Brit officially ascended to the top ranking on Monday morning following his victory at the Paris Masters, over American John Isner. The ascension marks the crowing point of a golden 2016 season for Murray, that’s seen him win a second Wimbledon and Olympic Gold Medal, reach 11 finals out of the 12 events he’s competed in, win a personal record of 73 matches for the season (and counting), and most importantly close the gap to the ultra-dominate Serb, Novak Djokovic in the rankings.
Incredibly, Murray is the first Briton to become World Number One after the computerized system began in 1973. Murray is the first new number one since Djokovic ascended to the position in 2011. He’s only the 4th world number one in the past 12 years, along with Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this ranking change is how quickly Murray ran down the huge points advantage Djokovic had accumulated. At mid-year Djokovic had roughly double the points of Murray, and it seemed almost inconceivable that he could be run down at any point in 2016, barring injury. Which makes Murray’s run even more remarkable.
Djokovic has topped the rankings now for 122 weeks (223 overall), and the Serb will be keen to bounce back at next weeks’, World Tour Finals. To assure himself of finishing the year as number one, Murray will need to be on his toes as the uber-competitive Serbian will be out for revenge.
The only downside for Murray was that his crowing moment came as a result of Canadian, Milos Raonic retiring before their semi-final clash in Paris. It definitely created an air of anti-climax for Murray, his team and their excited fans. Fortunately for Murray, his final victory the following evening allowed for more wide spread celebrations.
Next up for Murray, is the task of a strong showing at home in the World Tour Finals, before looking towards 2017.
With 3 Grand Slams to his name, Murray will be desperate to add to that list, especially considering the enormous resumes of his contemporaries. The Australian Open is an event where he’s had super success, making the final 5 times, but never having closed it out. For Murray, his moment is now.