LONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 21 – 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 knocked the Serb from pole position 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.
“I’m aware that’s going to be extremely difficult because I had a great year this year and I only managed to do it by one match.
“But now that I’ve got there, I would be motivated to try and stay in that position.”
When he wakes up on Monday morning, even Murray might be tempted to ask himself if the last 11 months were all a dream.
As if winning a second Wimbledon title, taking a second Olympic gold medal and becoming a father for the first time wasn’t enough to keep him happy, Murray is now looking down on the rest of the tennis world from his new perch.
– Major motivation –
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’s 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.
“These next few years, I want to try and make them the best of my career, try and win as much as I can. “
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.”
– The best –
Murray is now firmly established as one of Britain’s all-time great sportsmen, but he demurred when asked where he rated.
“I have no idea. It’s an impossible question. In tennis terms, in terms of my achievements over the years, I’d say I’d be the best tennis player from the UK,” he said.
By most standards, winning two Grand Slams, including a first French Open, would make 2016 a great year, but Djokovic goes into the off-season admitting he will be happy not to think about tennis for a while.
The 29-year-old has won only one title since June and losing the top ranking to Murray in a tournament he had won for the past four years was the final indignity.
Assailed by whispers about his private life and criticised for bringing a ‘spiritual guru’ into his camp, Djokovic insists he is still hungry for success.
“The last five, six months have not been ideal. I could have maybe done slightly better in some tournaments,” he said.
“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.
“I guess that all had its toll. Right now I’m actually looking forward to have a month and a half with no tournaments.
“Nothing is eternal. It’s time to leave the racquet aside for a little bit, just recover, then I’ll start thinking about next season.”