Tennis: Murray gearing up for more Grand Slam titles

Andy Murray posing with the ATP World Tour Finals trophy (left) as well as the world No. 1 trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 at London's O2 Arena on Sunday to finish the year as the top male player.
Andy Murray posing with the ATP World Tour Finals trophy (left) as well as the world No. 1 trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 at London's O2 Arena on Sunday to finish the year as the top male player.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Victory over Djokovic in London a huge mental boost, admits Scot

LONDON • Andy Murray has warned Novak Djokovic he is ready to embark on a sustained period of dominance after the Scot crowned a golden season by finishing on top of the world.

Murray produced an imperious display to defeat Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 and win the ATP Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena on Sunday.

The 29-year-old's first Tour Finals title came with the hugely significant bonus of ensuring that he remained above Djokovic in the year-end rankings after he replaced the Serb as world No. 1 two weeks ago.

Having spent the majority of his career overshadowed by the incredible achievements of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Murray can finally claim he is the best player on the planet and he has no intention of relinquishing his grip on that honour without a fight.

"I would like to try and stay there, obviously. It's taken a huge effort the last five, six months to get there," Murray said after his 24th consecutive victory brought him a fifth title in his last five tournaments.

  • ANDY MURRAY'S STELLAR 2016

  • £10.8m

    Total prize money (S$19.16 million)

    9

    Titles, including Wimbledon and the Olympics.

    78

    Matches won (and nine lost)

    24

    Wins in a row to finish the year

"I'm aware that's going to be extremely difficult because I had a great year this year. But now that I've got there, I would be motivated to try and stay in that position."

As if winning a second Wimbledon title, taking a second Olympic gold medal and becoming a father for the first time was not enough to keep him happy, Murray is now looking down on the rest of the tennis world from his new perch.

And, with Djokovic stuck in a rut for several months and Federer and Nadal battling with injuries in the twilight of their careers, Murray knows there is a chance for him to add to his three Grand Slam titles and extend his lead at the top.

"The Majors are what gets me working hard and what really, really motivates me. When I go away in December to train, I'm training with the Australian Open in mind," he said. "I'd want to try and achieve as much as I can these next few years because I'm not going to be around forever."

Murray had lost 13 of his previous 15 meetings with Djokovic, including the Australian and French Open finals this year, and he admitted it was a huge moment finally to get the better of his old rival.

"Over the last couple of years I lost a lot of the big matches against him. This one was a big match and I managed to get over the line," he said.

"Mentally that will give me a boost going into next year as well."

In contrast, Djokovic goes into the off-season admitting he will be happy not to think about tennis for a while.

"The last five, six months have not been ideal. I've just been through so much emotions since Roland Garros. I needed some time to really take it all in but I didn't have that time," the Serb said. "I guess that all took its toll. Right now I'm actually looking forward to (the chance to) have a month and a half with no tournaments.

"But credit to Andy... he definitely deserved to win. He was just the better player. There was no serious chance for me to win, from the very beginning we could see that."

And to top off Murray's year, British bookmaker William Hill promptly installed him as a 2/1 chance to be given a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in Britain's New Year honours list.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2016, with the headline 'Murray gearing up for more Grand Slam titles'. Print Edition | Subscribe