Our reigning champion Andy Murray capped off another amazing week in his career.
It was a week that saw him become world No.1 for the first time, the only British player to do that in the Open-era and at 29 became the oldest man since John Newcombe in 1974 to achieve that on the computer rankings, win the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy for the first time, joining Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski as the only Brits to achieve that and extend his match win streak to 19.
The Paris-Bercy title was also his 43rd career title, his 14th ATP Masters 1000 (he has now won seven of the nine) and his eighth title for 2016, which is more than any other man so far this season. If he had not already done so in anyone’s mind, what he accomplished during the Paris-Bercy week confirms without doubt that he is very much part of tennis’ elitist group.
Murray confirmed his place at the top of tennis’s Everest, the 26th man to do so, when he reached the final in Bercy and then stamped his mark on the week by winning the tournament for the first time, beating John Isner 6-3, 6-7, 6-4.
“(Being No.1) might only be for one week so I might as well try and enjoy it because I could lose it at the Tour Finals and never be there again,” Murray said. “Once I got on the court it was fine. I wasn’t thinking about rankings or anything. I was just trying to win the match.
“But beforehand, I was just happy that I was really up for the match and really wanted to try and win. I didn’t feel like, okay, well, my work this week was done, in a way.
“So I was really happy about that and hopefully will feel the same way going into the Tour Finals, as well, which I’m sure I will, because you’re competing against the best players in front of, you know, a big crowd there. And, yeah, hopefully I’ll be up for it.”
At the start of the week he knew there was a chance he could get No.1 but his mind was more focused on winning the title. Ivan Lendl, his coach, would always say “if you get the results the ranking will take of itself”.
Murray said going into the final against Isner there were no thoughts about maintaining a “cushion” of ranking points to keep Novak Djokovic at bay. For the Brit the mental side of his game was the important aspect, to remain focused on the title. So often in tennis we see that when a player achieves something big, something they have not reached before, there can be a sort of letdown after that. Murray did not allow that to happen.
“It would be nice to finish the year No. 1, but I’m happy that I managed to get there, but I was just pleased; I felt really nervous before the match, I didn’t feel flat, or anything like that, which that was the most pleasing thing for me,” Murray said.
He said he will work out new goals with his team when he is in London and is joined by Lendl (one of the two groups for the season-ending event is named after Lendl) for the ATP World Tour Finals. He says it is too soon to look to the Australian Open where he has been the finalist five times
“So much can happen and change in a small space of time as I have found out a number of times during my career. These last few months no one would have expected what I have done the last few months in the summer, really, or after the French Open,” he said
“So this was unexpected to me, as well. I didn’t expect it. So I have no idea what place I’m going to be in five or six months’ time. But, yeah, obviously I’d love to win the Australian Open because it’s sort of the next major goal, beginning of next year, because I have been close a number of times and I have never quite done it. Obviously I’d love to try and win that.”
Just maybe, if he does end the year at No.1 the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list we will be reading that Andy Murray will go to the Australian Open as Sir Andrew Murray. It would certainly be fitting after all he has achieved.
The doubles title went to John Peers and Henri Kontinen, it was their first Masters 1000 title; they defeated top seeds Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 10-6.