Andy Murray won the right to call himself World number 1 for 2016 as he went unbeaten in the end of year World Tour Finals on home soil at the O2 Arena in London.
Speaking after the game Murray finally put the tense rivalry with Djokovic behind him; “I’ve lost many of them but obviously I’m happy I’ve got the win today. To finish the year No. 1 is very special. It’s something I never expected.”
In the McEnroe Group, Murray headlined the arguably stronger group of the two, facing Kei Nishikori, three time Grand Slam champion, Stan Wawrinka and US Open champion Marin Cilic.
Murray comfortably cruised past Wawrinka and Cilic in straight sets, it was only when he faced 5th seed Nishikori he came under a bit of difficulty, losing his only set in the group stages, but he managed to recover from the first set loss to prevail in three sets and top the group with a 100% win record, followed by Nishikori who came second on the basis he beat Wawrinka in the group match.
On the opposite side in the Lendl group, Djokovic was the clear the favourite to top the group as he came into the World Tour Final group stage without losing a match to any of his three opponents.
Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic, and two World Tour Finals debutantes, Dominic Thiem and Gael Monfils were the trio trying to halt Djokovic, but after Monfils pulled out due to an injury Djokovic played Belgium, David Goffin, who he easily beat to go top of the group along with Raonic.
The two semis were very contrasting as there was a repeat of this years Wimbledon Final as Raonic was looking for revenge against Andy Murray. He got within one point of victory after saving two match points himself, but after a record match time of 3 hours 38 minutes, Murray prevailed 5-7 7-6 7-6.
The other semi-final was a one-sided affair, as Novak Djokovic took on Kei Nishikori. The match took 2 hours 32 minutes less than the semi of Andy Murray, as Nishikori never got into the match. Djokovic appeared in cruise control storming away with a 6-1 6-1 victory.
‘Very Special day’
In a clash where the winner would (‘officially’) claim the year ending World number 1 position, a match that had so much potential to be one of the greats, never lived up to the build-up it gathered.
Djokovic didn’t find his form from the previous day where he walked through to the final, as he found himself missing the most routine of shots and left Murray in control of the final showdown of the year.
Murray didn’t put a foot wrong on his way to a 6-3 6-4 victory, winning his first end of year World Tour Finals, but more importantly, securing his spot at the top of the rankings going into 2017.
During the trophy presentation Murray humbly summed up the win, “It’s a very special day.”