Becoming world number one is arguably the greatest achievement of Andy Murray’s remarkable career, even greater than his three Grand Slam titles and two Olympic Golds. He has achieved something which many believed simply wasn’t possible, and now surely is on course for a record third BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
To put things into perspective, for a long period of time Djokovic has had a seemingly unassailable lead at the top of the ATP rankings. Even Murray last month admitted, “My goal wasn’t to finish number one at the end of this year”.
That can hardly come as a surprise though, especially when you consider that Murray was a staggering 8,000 points behind Djokovic before Wimbledon.
However, Murray has been unbelievably consistent, both in recent months and throughout the year. Since the US Open he has played at the smaller events in order to rack up as many ranking points as possible and has won matches with impressive ease.
— Jamie Murray (@jamie_murray) November 7, 2016
But for all the praise Murray deserves, becoming number one is something which wouldn’t have been possible without Djokovic suffering a significant loss in form.
Some will point to personal problems with his wife and others will blame the injury problems that he has suffered after Wimbledon.
However, the most convincing view is that he simply lacks motivation. Djokovic has after all had a pretty memorable year, winning the Australian Open and finally winning the French Open, completing the career Grand Slam. Perhaps Djokovic lacks motivation and hunger, having achieved all there is to achieve in the game.
Having said all this, Murray has still had to do his job and retain focus. In recent weeks he has been up against some dangerous opponents in the form of David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and John Inser.
Murray has an excellent record against these opponents and his victories certainly shouldn’t be taken for granted especially at this stage of the season, when fatigue is bound to set in; especially when also considering the busy schedule that the Scot has had.
Let’s also give credit to Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl. Since reuniting just after the French Open the success has been incredible, with Murray winning Wimbledon, Olympic Gold and five other tour events.
He clearly has had a major impact on Murray, not so much in terms of his game, although it could be argued that Lendl has made Murray play a more aggressive brand of Tennis. Lendl has had a greater impact in terms of the mental aspect, helping Murray in handling the big matches and the crucial moments in matches.
Furthermore, Murray always seems to have a much calmer demeanour on court with Lendl sitting stone faced.
What next for Murray now? The first target will be to end the year as number one, which he will do as long as Djokovic doesn’t win the tour finals in London. As for next year Murray will no doubt be targeting further Grand Slam success.
Of course this won’t be easy, it never is. Djokovic will be back as strong as ever and Wawrinka has proven he is always a threat. However, for now all British tennis fans should rejoice at Andy Murray’s historic achievement.
Image courtesy of Kate via flickr.com
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