Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals to claim his first title and, perhaps more importantly, end the year as the men’s world number one tennis player for the first time in his career.
Murray won in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 to continue an unbeaten streak that stretches back to September, winning his 24th match in a career-best winning run, according to BBC Sport.
Djokovic refused to give Murray any leeway in his first three games on serve. However, Murray broke in the Serb’s fourth service game and went on to capture the first set.
Murray raced into a 4-1 lead in the second set with a double break before Djokovic snatched a break back. Murray held his nerve to close out, and as a result he won all five of his ATP World Tour Finals matches.
Andy Murray endured a tough week, having to overcome every other player in the top five of the world rankings.
Two of those matches were the longest ever played at the ATP World Tour Finals, including a semi-final match against Milos Raonic Saturday which lasted three hours and 38 minutes. Earlier in the week, Murray took three hours and 20 minutes to overcome Kei Nishikori.
Those marathon matches led to speculation that Andy Murray’s tiredness would play a significant factor in the final, yet he was able to beat one of his toughest foes in straight sets.
The final against Djokovic had a second prize at stake beyond the championship. The pair were close enough in the rankings that it was a shootout to determine who was the best player on the planet.
Djokovic had sought his fifth straight title at the event and was looking to equal Roger Federer’s six World Tour Finals wins. However, he ran into a major roadblock in the form of Andy Murray, who has been in imperious form since winning his third Grand Slam and second Wimbledon title this year.
Andy Murray closed out the year by winning five events in a row. He also won his second straight Olympic men’s singles gold medal and reached the finals of the Australian Open and the French Open.
After collecting his trophy and the $2,391,000 for winning the title without a loss, Murray was overjoyed.
“It’s very special playing against Novak in a match like this, we’ve played Grand Slam finals and Olympic finals before, but I am very happy to win and to be world number one is very special,” he said, according to BBC Sport. “It is something I never expected.”
“My team have been around a long time, and my family have been there from the very start and made lots of sacrifices so I thank them.”
Ever a gracious runner-up, Djokovic was quick to praise Andy Murray and his stellar achievements this year.
“It has [been] a fantastic year with some great highlights, especially in the first six months. Andy is definitely number one in the world. He deserved to win. He is the best player. […] In the decisive moments I wasn’t able to come back. I played better late in the match but it wasn’t enough.”
Both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will turn their attentions to January’s Australian Open after a short break to and start preparing for the 2017 season. Djokovic won that title this year for the sixth time, defeating Murray, a five-time finalist at the Grand Slam.
Djokovic also bested Murray in the French Open final this year.
But his time at the top is over, at least for now, and the ATP World Tour Finals proved beyond question that the best player in the world at the minute is Andy Murray.
[Featured Image by Alastair Grant/AP Images]