Can Andy Murray Remain At Number One?
2016 was a great season for Andy Murray. He won a second Wimbledon Title, a second Olympic Gold Medal, another Sports Personality Of The Year Title – and took over as the World Number One. The Tennis World think this may be his time so, with the Australian Open less than 2-weeks away, we thought we’d have a look at his 2016 record against his fellow top-10 players.
Novak Djokovic #2
So long the thorn in Andy Murray’s side, the fact that Djokovic beat Any Murray in the finals of the first two Grand Slams of 2016 shows just how well Murray played towards the end of the season to wrestle the number one ranking from him. However, it’s worth noting that Djokovic, after completing his Career Grand Slam in the French open, definitely struggled to motivate himself for the rest of the season. Whether the Serb’s game returns to its absolute best in 2017 remains to be seen, but he holds an overall 24-11 head-to-head record against Andy Murray, won 3 of their 5 meetings in 2016, and has won their last 5 Grand Slam encounters.
Milos Raonic #3
The Big Canadian’s seriously fast serve wins him plenty of matches, and it was noticeable that he tried to make even more of that power by coming to the net more in 2016. It was a tactic that worked well against many opponents but, despite beating Murray in 3 of the first 5 matches they played, it is Murray who has won their last 9 encounters, losing just 4 sets along the way.
Stan Wawrinka #4
Wawrinka remains the unheralded star of men’s tennis, mainly because he’s only really up for the big events, but he’s now just a Wimbledon title away from his own Career Grand Slam. However, though Murray has won their 2 matches in 2016, he only leads the Swiss star 10-7 overall. They’ve also met 5 times in Grand Slams, with Murray leading 3-2.
Kei Nishikori #5
Murray leads 9-2 in their head-to-heads, but the Japanese player is certainly coming to terms with being on the biggest stages. He beat Murray in the 2016 US Open, and 3 of their last 5 matches have gone to 5-sets.
Marin Cilic #6
Cilic had one of his better seasons in 2016, and that included beating Murray in the Cincinatti Masters. However, Murray won their other two 2016 clashes, and leads the Croatian 12-3 overall.
Gael Monfils #7
The Frenchman was another who had his best season for sometime in 2016, but he and Murray have faced each other just once in the past 6 seasons, with Murray coming out on top, as he’s done in 4 of their 6 matches.
Dominic Thiem #8
The Young Austrian has won plenty of titles in the last 2 seasons, but he’s yet to raise his form to a level that suggests he’ll be winning a Grand Slam soon. Has took a set off Murray on both occasions they’ve met though.
Rafa Nadal #9
Everyone knows that an on-form Nadal is better than several players ahead of him in the rankings, but the burning question is whether he can recapture the level of form that saw him amass a 17-7 lead over Murray. They didn’t meet in 2016, so it’s hard to gauge their current form against each other, but from his new ranking Nadal is a now a potential bogey in the last-16 or quarter-finals stages for the higher seeded players.
Tomas Berdych #10
Berdych was never at his best during 2016, and the 31-year-old may be on the decline. He hasn’t beaten Murray in 6 matches since 2013, and couldn’t take a set off him in two matches in 2016.
So Is This Andy Murray’s Time?
Murray won his last 25 matches in 2016 and, if he can maintain that level of form throughout 2017, he may well retain his number one status. However, he’ll be hoping that Djokovic can’t find his maximum motivation and that Rafa Nadal doesn’t return to peak form, whilst it’s likely that a few difficult semi-final clashes with Wawrinka may also await him.