ATP World Tour Finals 2016
The best 8 players of the season met in London for the final showdown of 2016 but it all come down to the best 2: no. 1 Andy Murray and no.2 Novak Djokovic. On Sunday two trophies were up for grabs: The Championship in ATP World Tour Finals as well as Year-End no.1 ranking
During the first half of the season Novak took home Australian Open and French Open titles after defeating Andy in both finals. But something happened to Novak’s form in the second half of the season - he lost in the 3rd round of Wimbledon, was defeated by Del Potro in the 1st round battle at the Olympic Games in Rio in August, and suffered yet another defeat - this time in the final of the US Open in New York at the hands of Stan Wawrinka.
Meanwhile Andy Murray looked stronger and stronger. Following his semi-final loss in New York, he went on to win 5 titles starting with Beijing in October ending in London with a 24 match winning streak. But despite these impressive results his way to no. 1 ranking was not a walk in the park. In his semi-final match on Saturday he was on the brink of defeat having to save a match point in a 3 hours 38 minute thriller against big serving Canadian Milos Raonic. Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, cruised in his semi-final crushing Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6:1 6:1 in just over an hour.
On Sunday evening the O2 Arena was packed with spectators ready to witness another battle between Andy and Novak. The pressure was all on Andy, the pressure to do well against Novak, the pressure to hold his no.1 ranking position, the pressure to prove that he was the best player of the season.
They both played well but it was Andy who managed to break Novak at the crucial moments of each set. In the first set he broke once to win it 6:3 and in the second he lead convincingly 4:1 just to see Novak get back to the match and recover one of the breaks. In the 10th game of the second set at 5:4 Andy’s serve was put under pressure but Andy held his nerve and earned his 11th career win over 12-time major champion Novak Djokovic in 1 hour and 43 minutes. Andy later said ”It was obviously a big, big match against someone who I’ve played so many big matches against, my main rival really throughout my career. We played in all of the slam finals, Olympics, here now and a match to finish the year No1. We played in loads of Masters Series finals, as well, and are one week apart in age. It was just a huge match to finish the year.”
Novak took the defeat like a champion he is and said ”We should all let Andy enjoy this a little bit. Don’t ask him questions about next season. He deserves to be in the moment and to take in what he achieved. His team as well – and his wife.”
A very happy end to an extraordinary season for Andy Murray. A huge treat for all of us to watch two great champions to battle for the title and for no.1 ranking. There is no doubt more great matches between these two are coming in 2017.