Will the British and world no.1 Andy Murray get off to a good start in 2017 and keep his level of tennis at the same height as he has done in the last few weeks of 2016? One thing is for certain, after winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the 3rd time, he will be more than determined to prove that he is the man to beat in the new season. In a recent interview, the Scot was very clear that his main focus will be on the Slams and trying to add to his 3 titles (2 Wimbledons and 1 US Open).
Here is a recap of how Andy finished his amazing season:
Andy Murray has confirmed his World No.1 spot for the next few months after an impressive victory over Novak Djokovic in the World Tour Finals on Sunday. Murray broke three times in the 6-3 6-4 victory for his first indoor win over the Serbian. Having played for longer than three hours on Saturday afternoon Murray was expected to struggle against Djokovic but it was the Serbian who looked flat, even though his last two matches took less time than Murray’s victory against Milos Raonic.
It caps off a stunning year for Murray, who has taken full advantage of Djokovic’s inability to make finals in the second half of the season. Since Djokovic beat Murray in the French Open final, Murray has won 8 of the 9 finals he has made including Wimbledon and two Masters 1000 events. He also picked up a second consecutive singles Gold Medal at the Olympics although for the purposes of the ranking, it had no impact due to no ranking points being offered by the ITF on this occasion.
Meanwhile, Djokovic has only three finals to his name – winning just once. Given Djokovic’s monster lead in June, such a lead could only be erased in the circumstances where Murray had to go on a tear and Djokovic suffer a number of early exits – most notably at Wimbledon where he lost to Sam Querrey. Djokovic’s lack of form has led to some questioning Murray’s status as No.1 when he had not played Djokovic in either of his lengthy winning streaks this year but it is just as much on Djokovic to make it to the final of tournaments where Murray is given the opportunity to beat him. “The last five, six months have not been ideal. Surely, you know, I could have maybe done slightly better in some tournaments. Nevertheless, I played finals of US Open, finals here. It’s still pretty good playing finals. Even though I set a high standard for myself, especially the last couple years, I’m very grateful to have had the career that I’ve had.” said Djokovic, reflecting on his year.
The final itself didn’t really live up to the hype that a clash between World No.1 and No.2 fighting for the top spot promised. Djokovic was error prone throughout with a uncharacteristic 17 more unforced errors than winners in the match compared to Murray hitting just two more unforced errors. Although the point itself was not decisive, it felt like Djokovic’s day could be summed up by one of the worst overheads of his career hitting long and wide with an open court. Djokovic did have a mini surge in the second set from *4-1 down but Murray held his nerve to eventually take the match on his second match point.
Murray is well aware he has faced tougher tests against the World No.1 saying after the match,”I think I’ve probably played better matches. I was solid enough when I needed to be. I didn’t make those mistakes. I think although I maybe made a few more mistakes than I would have liked, I think tactically I played a good match. Yeah, it was obviously a good performance. You never beat a player as good as Novak if you don’t play well. I’m not suggesting I played a bad match. I just think the two of us have played better matches than that one.”
With the World No.1 achievement now completed for Murray, he turns his focus to adding to his three grand slam titles and the possibility of a career slam given his run on the clay this year. “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. A five time losing finalist in Australia, Murray is edging ever closer and surely must take the title in Melbourne at least once in his career.