Andy Murray has one job and one job only Sunday in the Paris Indoors Masters final, and that is to not get defaulted! If he were to say hit a ballkid with a racquet, unleash a flurry of expletives on the chair or even drop his drawers in celebration, he would not only lose all his points and prize money, he would lose that No. 1 ranking!
“If I get defaulted in the match tomorrow, I don’t think I get the points from this week. So I need to make sure I’m on my best behavior,” Murray joked today. “Keep my racquet in my hands, and all will be well on Monday.”
Murray, of course, didn’t have to hit a ball to reach the Paris final and secure the No. 1 ranking, that because his opponent, Milos Raonic, pulled up lame with a right quad tear which also puts him in some doubt for London.
“Yesterday at 4-2 in the first set I started feeling some pain in my leg,” Raonic told the assembled media in Paris. “I didn’t think too much of it at that point. This morning I had trouble waking up and getting out of bed, so we did some tests. I had an MRI half an hour ago and they found that I have a Grade 1 tear in the right quad. Unfortunately, I’m not able to compete against Andy.”
Had Milos been able to lace’em up, would it have made a difference? Probably not. The result, the long, agonizing wait for Murray to become No. 1 is over.
“It feels a little bit strange how it’s happened today and obviously unfortunate that Milos is injured,” Murray said. “To get to this stage is about 12 months of tournaments to get to this stage. The last few months have been the best of my career and I’m very proud to get to this moment.
“In the beginning of my career, I’ve always wanted to win a Grand Slam, but now that I’ve gotten older, getting to No. 1 was something I have tried to do. I needed to improve my consistency and the last couple of seasons I have done that. I’m happy to have done that.”
So Murray will take his 18-match win streak into the final tomorrow against the towering John Isner. Isner salvaged what has been a sub-par season by reaching his third career Masters final beating Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3 to register his first win over the Croatian.
Isner slammed 18 aces and never lost serve during the straightforward win.
“I was just taking my cuts from the back of the court. Returning pretty well, returning aggressively,” the unseeded Isner said. “I certainly put it all together today. It was the best match I have played all year.”
Isner, though, is dismal 0-7 against Murray winning just three sets of 21. But maybe Murray will be too busy celebrating No. 1?
“I took the court today with a lot of confidence. It’s the first time all year coming into a match I’d won four matches in a row. So I knew I was playing well,” Isner said. “I knew I was playing the right way, and really, from the get-go, I was serving extremely well. That took a lot of pressure off me.
“[Playing Murray] is going to be a huge challenge for me, but that’s what makes this game so awesome and so tough at the same time. There are so many great players, and Andy, of course, is one of the all-time greats in my opinion. I have never beaten him before. He’s had my number. But also I had never beaten Cilic before coming into this match.”
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