Home / China / Sports

Murray aims to fortify top ranking in London

By Agence Francep-Resse in London | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-09 07:32

Andy Murray will face Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic in the ATP Tour Finals group stage as the newly crowned world No 1 looks to win the prestigious tournament for the first time.

Murray has never been past the semifinals at the season-ending event, but the Scot arrives at London's O2 Arena with a huge incentive to take the title.

The 29-year-old shattered Novak Djokovic's 122-week reign atop the world rankings by reaching the final of the Paris Masters last weekend.

To ensure his first taste of the No 1 position lasts more than two weeks, Murray must match or better Djokovic's performance at the Tour Finals, a tournament the Serb has won in each of the past four years.

After toasting his success while flying back to London on a private jet after winning the Paris Masters on Sunday, Murray was back to business on Monday as he learned his initial opponents in the Tour Finals.

The Scot has had mixed results against his group rivals this year, losing to Japan's Nishikori in the US Open quarterfinals after beating him at the Rio Olympics and in the Davis Cup.

He has lost three of his last four matches against world No 3 Wawrinka, including in last year's group stage, although he did beat the Swiss in their only meeting this year, the French Open semifinal.

Murray also lost to former US Open champion Cilic in their last meeting, in the Cincinnati final, but he defeated the Croatian in the Queen's Club semifinals in June.

After winning Wimbledon for a second time and then taking the second Olympic singles gold of his career, Murray can cap a dream year by lifting the Tour Finals trophy.

"Winning in Paris was great, but today has just been a normal day at home with the family," said Murray, whose first match of the Tour Finals will be against Cilic on Monday.

"Once you're out on the court you don't think about rankings.

"You're playing against the top eight players in the world. I look forward to getting out there and playing my best at the O2. I'll take a few days rest now, then start hitting again on Thursday.

"I need a few days' break, and then I'll be ready to start playing again.

"It will be one big push for all the guys. Everyone has played a lot of tennis and hopefully everyone can play well."

After looking invincible in the first half of the year, Djokovic, who faces Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem in the other group, suddenly finds himself playing second fiddle to Murray.

The reigning Australian and French Open champion will play in the first match of the Tour Finals on Sunday against rising Austrian star Thiem.

Nadal plans to return in Abu Dhabi

Rafael Nadal will return from a wrist injury to play an exhibition in late December in the United Arab Emirates.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion said on Monday on his Facebook page he will compete in the six-player, $250,000 Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

The event is not connected to the ATP Tour and will be held Dec 29-31.

World No 1 Andy Murray is also scheduled to play, as is fourth-ranked Milos Raonic. Nadal beat Raonic in the previous final.

Last month, Nadal said he was cutting short his season to fully recover from an injured left wrist that sidelined him for more than two months.

The 30-year-old Spaniard recently missed a tournament in Basel, Switzerland, and last week's Paris Masters. He also will miss the season-ending ATP Finals that open on Sunday in London.

Nadal said he intensified his recovery to play in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, causing wrist pain in every tournament after that. He won the doubles gold medal in Rio. but lost in the singles semifinals and the third-place match.

Earlier in the year, the injury forced Nadal to withdraw from the French Open before the third round and to skip Wimbledon altogether.

Associated Press

Murray aims to fortify top ranking in London

Andy Murray returns to Tomas Berdych during the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters last week. Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters


Editor's picks