World No. 1 Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets – 6-4, 6-4, to win his maiden ATP World Tour Finals title here in London today; the win also means Murray will be the year-end World No. 1 – the first time a Briton has achieved that feat.
After thoroughly dominating the Serb in the first set with strong shot placement and accurately angled shots, Murray played some wily tennis to seal it 6-3; Djokovic, who has come back from a set down in the past, looked however to put in a solid fight back in the second.
Djokovic made some key errors in the first set, missing what would otherwise have been routine shots for the Serb; those found their way into the net. The former No. 1 did, however, look to scrape back with a double break back against Murray in the second set, but as he admitted later in the post-match presentation, “it was a little too late.”
Murray appeared to lose concentration temporarily in the second set, with a number of distractions from the raucous London crowd who were cheering for him, as the chair umpire called for silence in the arena.
The win today gave Murray a 24-match winning streak and also ended Djokovic’s four-time finals winning streak here in London; this could have been the fifth successive title for the Serb, with the all-time record of six titles held by Roger Federer.
The Scot, despite having participated in eight World Tour Finals, had never progressed beyond the semi-finals at the event until this year. A laboured semi-final win over Milos Raonic led many to think he might struggle in the finals against Djokovic, particularly given how the Serb had steamrolled No. 5 Kei Nishikori in the other semifinal.
Djokovic, who will doubtless go down in history as one of the game’s greats, has been known to be an all-court, all-shot player – but today he sent some routine shots long, wide and played uncharacteristically sloppy tennis in patches today.
Perhaps halfway through the second set, Djokovic appeared to have mentally given up on the match as he seemed to do at the US Open Finals this year against Stan Wawrinka, simply serving out the match for sportsmanship’s sake. But a solid claw back into the match meant Djokovic capitalized to return every break Murray had dealt him.
Although he committed 3 double faults during the game, Murray was decisively strong scoring on his first serve, winning 84% of his points. Although Djokovic was broken a total of six times during the match today, credit must be given to the player for staving off the remaining three from what seemed like the brink of loss.
Gracious in defeat, Djokovic said of Murray, “He played better tennis, in the decisive moment I was not able to come back. It was a bit too late. He deserves the World No. 1.”
Murray acknowledged his rival, describing him as a “great competitor.”
Andy Murray, with his win today, becomes the first ever British year-end World No. 1 in singles; incidentally, his brother Jamie has finished as the year-end World No. 1 in the doubles with partner Bruno Soares.