Andy Murray has risen to number one in the ATP singles rankings for the first time in his career. The achievement marks the first time a British player has topped the rankings since they began in 1973.
The Scot secured his place at the top on his way to winning the Paris Masters. This ended Novak Djokovic’s 122-week reign as the world’s number one tennis player. Before the event, Murray knew that he would claim Djokovic’s throne if either he won the tournament and the Serbian failed to reach the final, or if he reached the final and Djokovic failed to reach the semi-finals. Murray’s path to the number one ranking became clearer when the Serbian lost to Croatian Marin Cilic 6-4, 7-6 at the quarter-final stage.
That meant that that Murray was just one win away from topping the rankings, and needed to beat Canada’s Milos Raonic in the semi-finals. Fortunately for Murray, Raonic had to pull out of the tournament with injury before the match, sending Murray straight through the final and taking him past the rankings points total he needed to overtake Djokovic.
Murray then celebrated by beating John Isner 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 in the final to seal the Paris Masters trophy for the first time in his career. Murray beat Fernando Verdasco in three sets and both Lucas Pouille and Tomas Berdych in straight sets on his way to winning the tournament. This was the sixth ATP title that the Scot has won in 2016, adding to his successes at the Italian Open, the Queen’s Club Championships, the China Open, the Shanghai Masters, and the Vienna Open.
Murray opened his successful Paris Masters campaign with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 over Spain’s Verdasco, surviving a scare when his unseeded opponent took the second set on a tie-break. Then in the third round he comfortably overcame France’s Pouille 6-3, 6-0. This set up a quarter-final tie with Thomas Berdych, which started out as a close contest with a tense tie-break eventually going Murray’s way 11-9. Murray went on to wrap up a straight sets, 7-6 (11-9), 7-5 victory which sent him through the semi-finals, which Raonic pulled out of.
Murray also won a second Wimbledon title in June, beating Raonic in that final. Britain had to wait 77 years for a men’s champion at its home tournament prior to Murray’s 2013 victory, but just three years for another win.
He also successfully defended the Olympic title that he won in London 2012, by claiming the gold medal in Rio, where he beat Juan Martin del Potro in the final. The 2016 Olympic Tennis competition did not provide any ATP rankings points, but was one of the high points of a successful season for Murray.
ATP rankings points are awarded for progress in major tennis tournaments, with Grand Slams providing 2000 points for winning. Masters 1000 tournaments such as the competitions Murray won in Paris, Shanghai and Rome provide 1000 points for the winner. Djokovic has won two Grand Slams to Murray’s one, but the Scot managed to accumulate enough points from the smaller tournaments to reach the number one ranking.
Murray will end the year as world number one, having beaten Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 to win the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time in his career. Murray enjoyed a highly successful tournament, winning all of his matches and dropping only two sets.