There's a new top-ranked player in men's tennis and it has been a long time coming for the man who has claimed the honour. In the same year he became a father, Andy Murray has reached the pinnacle of his sport.
Andy Murray didn't even have to serve once to become the world number one in men's tennis.
Murray only needed to make the Paris Masters final to take top spot off Novak Djokovic and when semi-final opponent Milos Raonic confirmed he had suffered a muscle tear in his leg and could not play, Murray knew the top spot was his for the first time in his career. Having lost in the quarterfinals in Paris, Djokovic lost his number one ranking after an incredible 122 straight weeks at the top.
"I never thought I'd be No. 1 in the world and never, never imagined that was something that was going to happen," Murray told a news conference.
The 29-year-old is the first Briton to reach the top ranking. He also becomes the oldest first-time ATP number one since 1974 and is the 26th player to be number one since the rankings were introduced. Since 2004 - the year before Murray turned professional - only Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic have been number one. Federer holds the record having been number one for 302 weeks, while Nadal also managed a remarkable 141 weeks at the top. Djokovic is fifth on the all-time list with 223 weeks in total.
Although Murray is unlikely to rival the trio's time at the top, he deserves huge credit for his persistence.
Born a week before Djokovic, Murray has spent his entire career playing catch-up but after losing to Djokovic in the French Open final in June, this season has been all about Murray. After re-hiring former coach Ivan Lendl, Murray started an amazing run in which he clawed back the massive 8,035 points seperating him from the Serbian.
The Scot was undefeated on grass, winning at Queen's Club and Wimbledon and he scooped Rio de Janeiro Olympic gold during a 22-match unbeaten sequence. Exhaustion saw him defeated by Kei Nishikori in the US Open quarterfinals, but he stormed back to claim titles in Beijing, Shanghai and Vienna.
Murray has now won 18 consecutive matches. If he can beat John Isner in Sunday's final, it will cap off a perfect year with the World Tour finals at home in London to come.
jh/mm (Reuters, AFP)