No time to relax at the top for Murray
ANDY Murray insisted he was taking nothing for granted going into the Tour Finals in London next week after overtaking Novak Djokovic as the new world number one in the ATP World Rankings yesterday.
The British champion celebrated his coronation by claiming a 14th Masters 1000 title on October 6 with a 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 victory over American John Isner in Paris.
His career-best eighth tournament win of the season came just a day after Murray became the first British player to top the rankings since the system was introduced in 1973. At 29, he is also the oldest player to reach the world number one spot for the first time.
“It 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,” said Murray.
He moves 405 points above Djokovic in the latest rankings, but the Serb could regain the place he held for 112 consecutive weeks if he goes undefeated to land a fifth-straight Tour Finals crown.
“I wasn’t thinking so much about the cushion or anything like that at the top. I’m obviously happy I got there. It would be nice to finish the year number one, but I’m happy that I managed to get there,” added Murray.
The Scot has struggled in London of late, exiting at the round robin group stage twice after missing the 2013 event through injury.
“The last couple of years have been tough there for me. So, yeah, obviously I want to try and play my best tennis there.
“It’s not necessarily about winning. I just want to play my best and finish the year on a good note in that respect, because some of the years it has been tough for me there.
“So hopefully I can play some good tennis there. I will take a few days’ break now, and rest up a little bit and get ready for one big push out of the next 10 days.”
With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both sidelined, and Djokovic considerably short of his best, Murray will head into next season with lofty expectations.
“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,” he said.
But the five-time Melbourne finalist ruled out looking too far ahead, pointing to his own rapid rise as evidence of how quickly circumstances can change.
“I’ll sit down with my team and basically look at what my schedule is going to be for the beginning part of next year and set goals through to March time probably, because I have found that I have worked better when I have had more short-term goals.
“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. So this was unexpected to me, as well. I didn’t expect it.”
Murray’s victory in Paris means the “Big Four” have now won 56 of the last 61 Masters events dating back to Monte Carlo in 2010, but the Scot’s return of just three Grand Slam titles leaves him well short of his rivals.
Isner backed Murray to significantly add to that tally before his time is up.
“He’s the guy that everyone is looking up to right now,” said Isner.
“Whether it’s 2, 3, 4 in the world, everyone knows how hard he works and how dedicated he is.
“I know he’s made a lot of finals, as well. Put him in any other era, he probably has more Grand Slams, but he’s at the top of the game right now and he’s going to give himself plenty more opportunity to win these big tournaments.” – THE Asian Football Confederation announced yesterday it had provisionally suspended four Laos national-team members as it investigates suspected manipulation of “multiple matches” going back years.
The players, Saynakhonevieng Phommapanya, Chintana Souksavath, Moukda Souksavath and Phatthana Syvilay, were provisionally suspended for 60 days for “various violations ... related to suspected match manipulation”, the AFC said in a statement.
The Kuala Lumpur-based federation added that other footballers also were under investigation, without naming them.
All four of those suspended were active for the ongoing AFC Solidarity Cup – a competition of teams eliminated from World Cup and Asian Cup contention – and had competed in Laos’ first game last week, a 2-1 victory over Sri Lanka, the AFC said.
They were sidelined because “their ongoing participation provided a direct threat to the integrity of the competition”, it said.
“The provisional suspensions relate not only to the AFC Solidarity Cup but also to suspected manipulation of multiple matches committed by the representative teams of Laos since 2010.
“The investigation is ongoing and not limited to those players provisionally suspended.” The AFC gave no further details.
Andy Murray reacts during his final tennis match against USA’s John Isner at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Paris on November 6.