PARIS, November 5, 2016
Andy Murray made history on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Masters, becoming the 26th player to rise to World No. 1 of the Emirates ATP Rankings next Monday. The 29-year-old Scot received a walkover into the final of the last ATP Masters 1000 event of the season in Paris, as Canadian Milos Raonic was forced to withdraw from the semi-final-clash due to injury.
“Obviously I didn’t expect that today. It felt a bit strange when it happened. But, you know, everyone was talking about this week, oh, of you win or do this or whatever,” Murray told during a packed press conference at the Accor Hotels Arena in Bercy.
“I felt like getting to No. 1 wasn’t about this week and it wasn’t just about last week. It’s about 12 months of work to get there. Obviously it’s unfortunate the way that it happened today. I would have liked to have done it o the court, but it’s been many years of work to get there.”
Murray was told that by Raonic that the Canadian was unable to compete while the 29-year-old was watching some videos of Milos’ Friday match in the locker room. “I quickly closed the iPad,” Murray told with a smile. “Then he told us he had hurt his quad and he wasn’t going to be able to play.”
When asked what he was thinking at this moment, Murray added:
“I actually felt quite calm. I think that’s just because of the nature of how it happened. Normally if you are told someone has pulled out, immediately you sort of start thinking about the next day and what you’re going to do. I didn’t really react. My team were a bit different.”
Team Murray Part Of His Success
Murray gave a lot of credit to Jamie Delgado. The pair also had a practice session on Paris’ Centre Court after Raonic had pulled out. “Ivan (Lendl) helped me a lot in the two times we have worked with each other but getting to No. 1 takes a full year’s work and Jamie has been there for every tournament. He has been there every single day working with me from the beginning of this year. He deserves a lot of credit for the work that he has done with me as well.”
Murray, who halted Novak Djokovic’s reign of 122 consecutive weeks atop the ATP Rankings, is the first British player to achieve the feat and second-oldest first-time No. 1 following John Newcombe.
He is tied first with Djokovic on the ATP World Tour with a career-best seven titles in 2016, including his second Wimbledon crown and second Olympic Games gold medal. He also captured two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles (the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, Shanghai Rolex Masters). He has a 73-9 record on the season and is currently riding a 19-match winning streak.
ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode said, “Andy has shown incredible dedication, determination and hard work in his bid to get to No.1. It’s difficult to think of a player more deserving of this accolade, what is more in one of the toughest eras in the history of our sport. He has had a phenomenal season and fully deserves this latest recognition, which confirms his status as the best player in the world.”
— Boris Becker (@TheBorisBecker) 5. November 2016
Murray is the 15th European player to rank No. 1, the first British and owns the ATP World Tour record for most time between becoming No. 2 and No. 1, having debuted at No. 2 on 17 August 2009.
“Obviously I am satisfied. It’s something I have never achieved before and wasn’t something that I necessarily felt like I was going to do even this year, even after the French Open or the beginning of the year,” Murray was proud.
“But things can turn around quickly in this sport and it’s just a strange sport. You had Novak losing yesterday to a guy who he won 14 times in a row against. And then John beating Cilic today who he’d lost six in a row against the following day. Stuff can turn around quick and the last few months have been really good.
“If I get defaulted in the match tomorrow, I don’t think I get the points from this week. So I need to make sure I’m on my best behavior,” Murray joked. “Keep my racquet in my hands, and all will be well on Monday.” He will look to extend his dominant 7-0 mark in his head-to-head record against John Isner in Sunday’s final. He will look to claim his 14 ATP Masters 1000 title.