For about a decade the phrase “The Big 4” has been synonymous with the ATP tour. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal have all sat at number one for numerous weeks, while Andy Murray has had to be content with a spot somewhere between 2-4. Not anymore.
At the age of 29, and on the back of four straight titles, Andy Murray has overtaken Novak Djokovic for the ranking of number one male player int he world. Not since John Newcombe in the 70’s has a man this old taken over top spot in the rankings for the first time. For years it never looked like it would happen, but inconsistent play and injuries from the other three, and stellar play from Murray paved the way to the top.
Besides his current winning streak, wins at both Wimbledon and Rio at the Olympics, were the high points of Murray’s historic year. For years Murray was seen a admirable grinder who didn’t have enough offense or composure to overtake his rivals but there are a number of possible reasons he was finally to take the leap. Fatherhood, getting back together with Lendl, or a injured field are possible reasons for his unprecedented 2016, but his notorious hard work can’t be overlooked.
In a sport where players are not only playing longer than ever, but also at a higher level longer than ever, don’t expect Murray to relinquish his spot easily. With the ATP World Tour Finals set to start at the weekend, Murray will be eager to put an exclamation point on his world number one ranking. My money is on him doing so.