On top the world

Mur­ray rev­els in per­fect end to dream year

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ANDY MUR­RAY hailed his ATP Tour Fi­nals tri­umph against No­vak Djokovic as the per­fect fin­ish to a dream sea­son as the Scot wrapped up the year-end world No. 1 rank­ing.

Mur­ray pro­duced a su­perb dis­play to de­feat Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 in the final at Lon­don’s O2 Arena and guar­an­tee he would re­main above the Serb in the last rank­ings of 2016.

The 29-year-old is the first Bri­tish man to fin­ish in pole po­si­tion since the in­cep­tion of the ATP rank­ings in 1973 and the first player other than Djokovic, Roger Fed­erer and Rafael Nadal to end the year top since Andy Rod­dick in 2003.

It caps an in­cred­i­ble 11 months for Mur­ray, who won Wim­ble­don for the sec­ond time, claimed a sec­ond Olympic gold medal and be­came a fa­ther for the first time.

“Right now to fin­ish the year like this, this is the best pos­si­ble way, ob­vi­ously,” he said.

“It was just a huge match to try and fin­ish num­ber one. This is a ma­jor event and one I’ve not done well in in the past, so it’s been a great week.

“It was a big, big match against some­one that would be my main ri­val re­ally through­out my ca­reer.

“We played in all of the Slam fi­nals, Olympics, and now a match to fin­ish the year num­ber one. It was ob­vi­ously a big match, a very im­por­tant win for me. “

Just 24 hours af­ter he played the long­est match in tour­na­ment his­tory to beat Mi­los Raonic in three hours and 39 min­utes, Mur­ray looked sur­pris­ingly fresh and he ad­mit­ted it was cru­cial he got ahead quickly to avoid be­ing dragged into an­other drain­ing en­counter.

“I felt tired. I didn’t feel great this morn­ing, just a bit slug­gish, a bit heavy-legged,” he said.

“Thank­fully the first seven games, there was no long ral­lies re­ally at all, which for us is strange.

“It wasn’t re­ally un­til the mid­dle of the sec­ond set when the ral­lies started to get ex­tended and longer that my legs were start­ing to feel it.

“That’s why it be­came harder to close the match out be­cause I knew the longer the match went, Andy Mur­ray cel­e­brates with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the men’s sin­gles final of the ATP World Tour Fi­nals tennis tour­na­ment in Lon­don yes­ter­day. the worse I was go­ing to feel, and prob­a­bly the bet­ter he was go­ing to play, too. “

Hav­ing lost 13 of his last 15 matches against Djokovic, in­clud­ing the Australian and French Open fi­nals this year, Mur­ray said it was ex­tra spe­cial to achieve his dou­ble suc­cess against his old ri­val.

“I have mas­sive re­spect for ev­ery­thing that he’s done, for him as a player,” Mur­ray said.

“It’s a match-up that over the last cou­ple of years I lost a lot of the big matches against him. This one was a big match and I man­aged to get over the line.

“I was lucky I got it fin­ished in two sets. I don’t think that was one of No­vak’s best matches. I was solid enough when I needed to be. I didn’t make those mistakes.”

Djokovic had no com­plaints and ad­mit­ted he had been well be­low his best in a lethar­gic per­for­mance that in­cluded 30 un­forced er­rors.

“I just played very poorly and made a lot of un­forced er­rors from the back­hand side. It just wasn’t my day,” Djokovic said.

“Credit to Andy for be­ing men­tally tough and play­ing the right shots, mak­ing me play ex­tra shots in ev­ery rally. He def­i­nitely de­served to win.

“Even though he has had very long matches, es­pe­cially the one yes­ter­day, peo­ple were think­ing maybe he’s go­ing to be slightly tired, but he didn’t seem so.” – AFP

– AFPPIX

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