A new name has been etched at the top of the ATP World Rankings. After being in the shadow of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic for almost a decade, Andy Murray finally scaled tennis’ summit at the Paris Masters.
Getting there was difficult but the Scot will have his work cut out to stay there as he battles Djokovic for the year-end world No.1 ranking at the 2016 ATP World Tour Finals, starting this Sunday in London.
Murray has been in imperious form in the second half of the season and is currently on a 19-match unbeaten run. But he faces a stiff challenge from the four-time defending ATP World Tour Finals champion Djokovic.
Here, Sport360 analyses the multiple scenarios for the year-end No.1 ranking – but who has a better chance at finishing the year ranked No.1, Murray or Djokovic?
YEAR-END NO.1 RANKING SCENARIOS
Their results at the World Tour Finals will ultimately decide who finishes the year as No.1.
ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS RANKING POINTS
The ATP ranking points are awarded at the World Tour Finals is as follows:
An undefeated champion can earn a maximum of 1500 points (3 RR wins + SF win + F win).
YEAR-END NO.1 RANKING – FACTS AND FIGURES
1 – Andy Murray will attempt to finish as year-end No.1 for the first time. In doing so, he would also become the first Brit to achieve this feat.
3 – Men to have captured the year-end No.1 ranking in September – Federer (Sep’04, Sep’06), Nadal (Sep’10), Djokovic (Sep’15).
4 – Players have held, lost & regained the year-end No.1 rankings – Lendl, Federer, Nadal (twice), and Djokovic.
5 – Djokovic is bidding to secure the year-end No.1 ranking for the 5th time in the last 6 years – Nadal beat him in 2013.
6 – Year-end No.1 rankings for American great Pete Sampras from 1993 to 1998 – the record for most year-end No.1s. He also holds the record for the most consecutive year-end No.1s, followed by Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer who have both have finished as No. 1 on five occasions.
6 – Six players have held the No. 1 ranking every week of the season (or calendar year). Jimmy Connors (3), Ivan Lendl (2), Pete Sampras (2), Lleyton Hewitt (1), Roger Federer (3), Novak Djokovic (1). Federer is the only one to have held the No.1 ranking every week for three straight years (2005-07).
12 – By finishing the year as No.1, Murray could end the 12-year reign of the Big 3 (Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic) at the top of the rankings. The Big 3 have held the year-end top spot since 2004 – Federer (5), Nadal (3), and Djokovic (4).
16 – Players have secured the year-end No.1 rankings. The coveted group includes 6 Americans, 8 Europeans, 1 South-American, and 1 Australian. Gustavo Kuerten is the only South-American to hold the No. 1 spot, while Hewitt is the only Australian.
20y 9m – Aussie Lleyton Hewitt is the youngest year-end No.1. He clinched the ranking by winning the 2001 Tennis Masters Cup (the season-ending championship).
29y 10m – Czech great Ivan Lendl is the oldest year-end No.1. He achieved this feat in 1989 (finishing the year as No.1 for the fourth time).
1973 – Romanian legend Ilie Năstase was the first year-end No.1 – when the computerised ranking system was introduced by ATP in 1973.
Top 2 – Djokovic will finish the year ranked inside the Top 2 for a sixth consecutive season (2011-16). Federer holds the all-time record with 10 year-end Top 2 finishes.
Other Ranking Battles
No.3 – Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori will possibly battle it out for the year-end No.3 ranking
Top 6 – Gaël Monfils, Marin Čilić and Dominic Thiem will all bid to finish the year in the Top 6.
Indoor Tennis is the flavour of the season as the 2016 ATP World Tour nears its end. Indoor tennis always brings a different dimension with controlled conditions devoid of atmospheric factors.
The spotlight will be on the fascinating battle for the World No. 1 ranking between Serb Novak Djokovic and Brit Andy Murray. Djokovic, who has been perched at the top of the ATP rankings for the last 27 months, has Murray breathing down his neck.
Andy Murray has taken full advantage of Djokovic’s struggles in the second half of the season with the Serb’s once insurmountable lead (almost twice the points of 2nd-ranked Murray at one stage) tracked down by the Brit.
Djokovic currently leads Murray by 915 points in the ATP Race to London, thus the battle for the World No.1 will decided during the indoor season.
Here, Sport360 brings to you all the records, stats and historical numbers from Indoor Tennis
53 – Indoor titles for American great Jimmy Connors – the most indoor titles in the Open Era. He is followed by John McEnroe (52 titles) and Ivan Lendl (42 titles).
469 – Indoor match wins for Connors (469-103) – the most indoor match wins. Connors is followed by McEnroe (419-72) and Ivan Lendl (341-70).
22 – Roger Federer is the leader amongst the active players with 22 indoor titles (from 35 finals). Federer is also the active match wins leader with 264 victories indoors. He has the best winning percentage indoors amongst the active players too (264-64; 80.5%).
76 – Indoor finals for Jimmy Connors – the most in the Open-Era. He is followed by McEnroe (69 finals) and Lendl (62 finals)
85.3% – Indoor win-loss record for John McEnroe (419-72 W-L) – the best percentage indoors.
33 – Starting from the 2012 World Tour Finals, Novak Djokovic has won 33 of the 34 matches he has contested at the Paris Masters & ATP World Tour Finals (combined). His only loss came last year when Roger Federer beat him in a World Tour Finals round-robin match. He’s won the last three Paris Masters titles and the last four ATP World Tour Finals (both Open-Era records).
15 – Consecutive indoor titles for John McEnroe (1983-85) – the all-time record.
19 – Consecutive indoor finals for Ivan Lendl (1983-86) – the all-time record.
91.67% – Former world No. 4 Thomas Enqvist holds the record for the best finals to titles conversion indoors (minimum 10 finals). The Swede won 11 of the 12 finals he played indoors (91.67% conversion). Djokovic has the best conversion amongst active players, having won 12 of the 14 indoor finals (85.71% conversion) he’s played.
43.7% – John McEnroe won 52 indoor titles of the 119 events entered – a staggering 43.7% strike rate.
9 – Indoor titles won by Ivan Lendl in 1982 – the most indoor titles won in a single season in the Open Era.
20 – Meetings between arch-rivals Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg – the ATP record for most meetings indoor. Becker leads the indoor head-to-head 16-4.
66 – Consecutive indoor matches won by Ivan Lendl (1981-83) – the best winning streak indoors. John McEnroe enjoyed a 53-match win-streak indoors (1983-84).
38 – Djokovic enjoyed a 38-match win-streak indoors between 2012 and 2015. The streak started at the 2012 World Tour Finals and ended with a defeat to Federer at the 2015 World Tour Finals.
Most Masters Titles (Indoor) – 11 – John McEnroe (USA)
Most Masters Titles (Indoor) since 1990 – 5 – Boris Becker (GER)
Youngest Indoor Champion – Michael Chang (USA) – 16y 7m – 1988 San Francisco
Oldest Indoor Champion – Pancho Gonzales (USA) – 43y 8m – 1972 Des Moines Open
4 – Players have won the Paris Double (Roland Garros + Paris Masters) – Ilie Năstase, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
1 – Andre Agassi is the only player to achieve the Paris Double (Roland Garros + Paris Masters) in the same calendar year (1999). Djokovic will be attempting to achieve this feat in 2016 (as he will enter Paris as the defending champion).
3 – Novak is also the only player to successfully defend the title at Bercy (2013-2015).
45% – titles won by the Big 4 (Nadal, Federer, Murray, Djokovic) at the Paris Masters since 2005 (5 of 11 editions), the worst conversion rate for the Big 4 at any Masters event. (Since 2005, they own a minimum 80% conversion at the other eight Masters events).
12 – Finals contested by Roger Federer at the Swiss Indoors (2000-01, 2006-15) – the record for the most finals at a single event in the Open Era.
7 – Titles for Federer at the Swiss Indoors; the record for the most titles at an indoor event in the Open Era.
10 – Straight Finals contested by Federer at the Swiss Indoors – the only man in the Open Era to compete in 10 straight finals at a single tournament.
The ATP’s decision to fine Nick Kyrgios an additional $25,000 and suspend him for eight tournament weeks – with the possibility of getting it reduced to three if he seeks help from a psychologist – has been met with mixed reactions from the public.
Some feel it is too lenient, others think it’s fair, while the Kyrgios loyalists find it harsh.
The ATP found Kyrgios to have committed the player major offense ‘Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game’ which according to the 2016 Rule Book includes, but is not limited to, “publicised comments that unreasonably attack or disparage any person or group of people, a tournament, sponsor, player, official or the ATP”. It also includes any public comments that “will harm the reputation or financial best interests of a tournament, player, sponsor, official or the ATP are expressly covered by this section”.
Kyrgios did lash out at a spectator, telling him to “shut up” and later said he didn’t owe spectators anything. “If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come watch. Just leave,” he added in his post-match press conference.
Discouraging fans from turning up to a tournament would harm the financial best interests of that event.
Another part of the rule says that same code is violated if a player “has at any time behaved in a manner severely damaging to the reputation of the sport”.
Kyrgios tanking during that match against Mischa Zverev in Shanghai is damaging to the reputation of tennis because it simply makes a mockery out of the competition and it tells fans and broadcasters that they will pay for tickets, or TV rights, of a tennis match, but might not get a contest where both players are trying hard to win it. It is why there is a Best Efforts provision in the ATP Code of Conduct.
Tennis Australia's statement regarding Nick Kyrgios and the ATP's decision to suspend him: pic.twitter.com/TG49TWHo5V— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) October 17, 2016
The rules say that someone who has committed Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game can be fined up to $100,000 and suspended for up to three years. Considering Kyrgios got $25,000 (added to the $16,500 he was sanctioned earlier) and a maximum of eight tournament weeks, it is obvious the ATP’s decision was quite reasonable.
Is it too lenient? I think not. The core of all this is that Kyrgios needs help.
The 21-year-old Aussie is not consistently a “bad boy” the way he has been painted in the media. Between the tantrums and the controversies, he is a talented guy who is respectful to his peers (the Stan Wawrinka/Donna Vekic incident being an obvious terrible and extreme exception), is kind to his fans, and struggles deeply with his day-to-day life on the tennis tour, admitting to the fact that he is not in love with the sport and often questions his existence in it.
With every Kyrgios high, comes a few lows in tow, and he clearly cannot stop it from happening all on his own.
The constant attack from the court of public opinion has continued to make matters worse as well. People are entitled to have their own opinions, but imagine being Kyrgios – a young man who is obviously dealing with a lot more than what meets the eye, someone who exhibits radical mood swings, trying to handle it all while in the spotlight and while competing in a harsh sport like tennis.
He tends to react poorly when attacked by the public or the media. Being sanctioned by the ATP however is what should have been happening all along, with respect to any Code of Conduct violations he may have committed.
These ATP sanctions are actually a good thing, especially that wise condition that says he can get his suspension cut if he seeks the help of a psychologist.
At the end of the day, the goal of punishment isn’t just to teach someone a lesson, or retaliate against a specific behaviour, it is about trying to make a real difference in that person, and helping them improve for the better. Urging Kyrgios to speak to a psychologist shows the ATP actually cares.
Whether it will be effective or not remains to be seen but for now, given the magnitude of what he did in Shanghai and the manner in which he has done it, which reflects how mentally fragile he seems to be at the moment, it seems like the right way to go.