#360stats: Can Murray end year as World No.1?

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  • Who will triumph in London?

    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?


    • Andy Murray (11185) currently leads Novak Djokovic (10780) by 405 points in the ATP rankings, released on Nov 7.
    • After the Davis Cup final (25-27 Nov); Murray will drop 275 points from his year-end tally (gained as 2015 Davis Cup champion). No ranking points are awarded for Davis Cup ties in 2016 and Djokovic has no points to defend.
    • So in reality, Murray (10910) leads Djokovic (10780) by 130 points.
    • Murray could possibly hold on to the No.1 Ranking for 2 or 3 weeks and then relinquish the top ranking to Djokovic. Alternatively, he could also finish the year as the No.1 ranked player.

    Their results at the World Tour Finals will ultimately decide who finishes the year as No.1.


    • The season-ending championship is a unique event, played with a round-robin plus knockout format.
    • Eight players are divided into two groups of four and play three round-robin matches each against the other players in their group.
    • The two players with the best records in each group progress to the semi-finals, with the winners meeting in the final to determine the champion.

    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).

    • The final ranking points are corrected for Davis Cup points drop (Murray drops 275 points).
    • All scenarios are projected for year-end No.1 ranking on November 28 (post-Davis Cup final).
    • If Murray wins three round robin matches and Djokovic wins one (& qualifies), they will be projected to play in the semi-final (similarly vice-versa).


    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.