When I look back at all of the players who have held the ATP number one, Andy Murray sits somewhere in the middle. That said, he is a true number one. There are some players who have made fleeting appearances at the top but his has been a planned road to success: two Wimbledon titles, a US Open, double Olympic Gold, the Davis Cup, five runners-up at the Australian Open… those are amazing career statistics.
He is well entrenched as one of those who truly deserve to be number one.
When I think back to the players that I have watched, commentated on or played against, for me Roger Federer is the best number one of all time. I look at his dominance over every surface, and if it wasn’t for Rafa Nadal he would have won four or five French Opens. So we’re really saying that one player has stopped him from winning 20-plus Majors.
Then there is the way that he plays the game; that classical beauty that he plays with on every surface. Nobody else can match that, even though he has had different records against some of the ‘Big Four’. Roger’s longevity; his ability to remain uninjured until recently, his resilience and consistency outweighs them all.
Novak, meanwhile, is definitely in my Top 5 of number ones in the Open Era. The way that he has dominated events, not to mention the Major titles that he has accumulated, is very impressive. When I think about players who might be ahead of him, I think about Federer, Nadal and Sampras. I suppose you could look at Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Lendl… There are some big names in there. But Novak is fifth on the list of total weeks at number one, and I think that is where he sits overall.
Looking forward, I think Murray will hang on to number one until at least Wimbledon next year. Obviously, we need to see how Novak goes in these next two or three months – he has a long road ahead mentally – but once we get to July the race really starts again and we’re back to zero.
And who knows? By then we there may be somebody else knocking on the door, although I think that is highly unlikely. For me, the battle for number one will go back and forth between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic for the next couple of years.
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