No time to re­lax at the top for Mur­ray

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

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.

Photo: AFP

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.

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