Mur­ray crowned num­ber one af­ter Raonic in­jury

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Bri­tain’s Andy Mur­ray be­came the new world num­ber one yes­ter­day af­ter Mi­los Raonic with­drew from their Paris Mas­ters semi-fi­nal be­cause of in­jury. The walkover will see Mur­ray, 29, move to the top of the rank­ings for the first time in his ca­reer af­ter re­plac­ing long-time in­cum­bent No­vak Djokovic.

The Scot’s climb to the ATP rank­ings’ sum­mit caps a re­mark­able year which has seen him win a sec­ond Wim­ble­don crown and mount a suc­cess­ful de­fence of his Olympic ti­tle in Rio.

“I think that’s the most sat­is­fy­ing thing, re­ally. It’s been such a dif­fi­cult thing to do dur­ing my ca­reer be­cause of how good the guys around me have been, the guys ahead of me,” said Mur­ray.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s un­for­tu­nate the way that it hap­pened to­day. I would have liked to have done it on the court, but it’s been many years of work to get here.

“I never thought I’d be No. 1 in the world and never imag­ined that was some­thing that was go­ing to hap­pen.” Mur­ray had needed to reach the fi­nal to sup­plant Djokovic at the top fol­low­ing the Serb’s de­feat to Marin Cilic in the last eight.

But he didn’t need to hit a sin­gle ball as Raonic an­nounced his with­drawal in a hastily-ar­ranged press con­fer­ence.

Raonic said he had suf­fered a mus­cle tear in his right leg in his pre­vi­ous match, send­ing Mur­ray through to face John Is­ner in Sun­day’s fi­nal.

“This morn­ing I had trou­ble wak­ing up and get­ting out of bed,” said Raonic, who hurt him­self in Fri­day’s quar­ter-fi­nal win over Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga.

“I had some tests and an MRI half an hour ago and they found that I have a tear, Grade 1 tear in the right quad. “Un­for­tu­nately, I’m not able to com­pete against Andy to­day in the sec­ond semi­fi­nal.”

Mur­ray will be con­firmed as the new num­ber one-the 26th dif­fer­ent player in his­tory to hold top spot-when the lat­est rank­ings are re­leased to­mor­row. He is the old­est first-time num­ber one since 30-year-old John New­combe of Aus­tralia in June 1974.

Djokovic, whose 122-week reign at the top is set to come to an end, praised Mur­ray’s re­mark­able rise which co­in­cided with a tu­mul­tuous sec­ond half of the year for the Serb.

“He’s def­i­nitely a player who de­serves that. Un­doubt­edly much re­spect for what he has done,” said Djokovic.

“To see how he has raised his level in the last 12 months is quite ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

Mur­ray will meet Is­ner as he tar­gets a maiden Paris Mas­ters ti­tle af­ter the bigserv­ing Amer­i­can top­pled Cilic 6-4, 6-3 in the first semi-fi­nal.

Is­ner, who also reached the last four in 2011, broke the ninth seed at 4-all be­fore serv­ing out for the first set. Cilic sealed his place at the Tour Fi­nals in Lon­don this week and then snapped a 14-match los­ing run against Djokovic, but the Croat couldn’t main­tain that level against Is­ner. — AFP

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