Andy Murray Beats Novak Djokovic To Win First ATP Finals And Finish No. 1!
by Sean Randall | November 20th, 2016, 4:07 pm

Some quick thoughts on what we just saw as Andy Murray hung on to beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 to win his first ATP Finals title and wrap-up the year-end No. 1 ranking.

First, congrats to Murray. He deserves the win and the ranking that came with it, finishing with the most match wins (78) and most overall titles (9). He put together a full season, from start to finish. Djokovic, who had more Slam titles, did not and he paid for it.

“It was obviously a big, big match against someone who I’ve played so many big matches against in my career, that would be my main rival really throughout my career,” said Murray.

“We’ve played in all of the Slam finals, Olympics, obviously here now, and a match to finish the year number one. It was a very important win for me.”

As for the match, the outcome was not a surprise when you look at the last few months of Murray domination. But it was given what happened yesterday with Murray having to win a marathon while Djokovic spending just an hour. That’s a huge disparity that I thought would prove the difference.

And to Murray’s credit, he never looked weary from Saturday. In fact, it was Djokovic who appeared a bit sluggish but not early.

Djokovic came out of the blocks focused and sharp, and he was really hitting the ball cleanly. Cruising on serve. Murray looked good, too, but early on the match was clearly in Djokovic’s favor.

Then, things changed. Djokovic serving 2-3 saved break points and had that bad overhead smash miss. He escaped, yes, but the crack was open.

Murray followed holding at 15 and then jumped on Djokovic in the very next game breaking the Serb by breaking him down.

As I said yesterday, the Murray may have been tired but he’s been tournament tough and tournament tested of late. Murray’s been winning, Djokovic hasn’t. And I think in that moment it showed.

With Djokovic seemingly unable to overpower Murray or break the Murray defense, Murray dug in and kept getting balls back and attacking when the opportunity came. Djokovic was also struggling for free points on his serve, and he was broken twice to start the second.

Murray was up 4-1 before Djokovic settled down and mounted a late charge.

Djokovic got one break back and put some pressure on Murray, but as he admitted afterward, it was too little too late.

Murray served out a nervy 5-4 game to win it on his third match point and complete arguably the best 2-match weekend of his career. Had Djokovic gotten back to even there, who knows?

“I don’t think that was one of Novak’s best matches. I think we have played better matches together,” Murray said.

“The end of the match was exciting and dramatic, but there were mistakes from both of us. I think I’ve probably played better matches.”

Again, high marks for Murray these last two days. He showed his grit and heart Saturday in that epic win over Milos Raonic saving a match point. Today, he showed his fitness, his desire and his power in the win over Djokovic. And he showed he was the better player. That simple.

Maybe his offensive posture – especially on his serve and forehand – was knowing his body wouldn’t hold up. I don’t know, but it worked and Murray would be well served to keep belting the ball like that.

“I was solid enough when I needed to be,” Murray added. “I didn’t make those mistakes. I think although I maybe made a few more mistakes than I would have liked, I think tactically I played a good match. It was obviously a good performance.

“You never beat a player as good as Novak if you don’t play well. I’m not suggesting I played a bad match. I just think the two of us have played better matches than that one.”

After reaching No. 1 just a few weeks ago, Murray becomes the 17th player in history to finish the year in the top spot. Now he has a few weeks to rest and recharge before 2017. He’s healthy and seemingly in his prime, and with Ivan Lendl by his side, he’s going to be the man to beat going forward. That win streak is now at 24, let’s see how high it goes.

As for Djokovic, the pop, the power and the emotion wasn’t there today. Once he got broken in that eighth game of the first set, he seemed resigned to second place. Like he knew he couldn’t win the fight. Just bizarre.

And after, he admitted as much.

“There was no serious chance for me to win today’s match,” Djokovic said. “From the very beginning we could see that. He was just a better player all in all. It just wasn’t my day.

“On the other hand, credit to Andy for being mentally tough and playing the right shots, making me play extra shots in every rally. He definitely deserved to win.”

No serious chance? Again, bizarre.

“I just played very poorly, made a lot of unforced errors from the backhand side. It just wasn’t my day,” added Djokovic.

“Every day you feel different. I guess this was one of these days where I didn’t feel the ball as well as I wanted it. That’s all I can say.”

So who would have believed it, especially back in June, Murray would finish 2016 as the true king of the tennis? What a year for Murray – second Wimbledon, second gold, a new baby girl and now his first ATP Finals title to give him No. 1. What a sport. Every time we think we’ve got this figured out, we really don’t. And that’s awesome.

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36 Comments for Andy Murray Beats Novak Djokovic To Win First ATP Finals And Finish No. 1!

Colin Says:

I watched the first couple of games and Andy seemed in bad form, so I had some dinner and watched a movie. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I tuned in again to find Andy had won.
I just hope nobody starts claiming he must be on drugs.

It’s not PEDs, it’s determination and fitness.

As for Skeezer’s silly crack about the “few” who would be watching, I shall be interested to see the BBC viewing figures.

Margot Says:

ANDEEEEEEEEE! You beauty! The roller coaster is soaring to the sky.

Margot Says:

Very nice write up Sean, ta.

Farah Diba Says:

Sean…Ahem,ahem,ahem…Is Andy still not good No 1 for you?HoHoHoHo..

J-Kath Says:

Farah – Note you’re picking up my “ahem” – ah well – seeing it’s you I’ll let you…ahem, ahem.

Farah Diba Says:

Yeah Jk…Ahem,ahem back!

RZ Says:

Woohoo! I was out all day, didn’t even check until the match was well over. So thrilled for Andy. He’s worked so hard to get to this point in his career, and what a way to cap it off. Amazing for him to win his first tournament as the #1 player, and doing it the hard way defeating numbers 2-5 throughout the tournament.

Also read that Andy broke his opponent’s serve at least once in all 87 matches that he played this year. Phenomenal!

Hugs to my fellow Andy fans, especially Margot and J-Kath, and special props to Farah/AM who didn’t stop believing!

Markus Says:

Farah Diba, read your post in the other thread where you apologized for not mentioning my name. Thank you though you didn’t need to. I don’t mind being forgotten, or ignored and maybe even hated as long as Andy wins. That’s all that matters. Andy is year end number! Hooray! Cheers! Bottoms up! Merry Christmas! I have to find that ugly Christmas sweater Andy had and wear it this Christmas!

Farah Diba Says:

I just want to add a little bit more…I think,the scenario at the trophy ceremony will be complete and perfect if Nole has been rewarded not only a runner up trophy BUT a trophy that marks his amazing achievement in the summer[career slam 4 in a row]’s not every year that a great player can do takes 48 years to do that and maybe will take another 48 years for another player to achieve what Nole has achieved..What a beautiful sight at WTF final trophy ceremony it would be if someone smart and intelligent at ATP takes just a little time and generous enough to appreciate what an amazing player and athlete Nole is..I feel very sad by how ignorant they are..

Farah Diba Says:

@Markus…Awww!Don’t say that please!I feel very guilty as it is..It’s just that you rarely posting and i totally forgot..silly me!I promised,i will never forget your name..EVER AGAIN..Promised!!

@RZ…Sis!!!!!WOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!YEAH!!!!!…I told you to not stop believin’!!!Oh My God!!I still can’t believe it RZ!!It’s the most amazing sunday i’ve ever felt for the long long time!So so happy..for myself,for Andy and especially for you guys Andy fans..You guys are AWESOME!!!You hear that!!

Farah Diba Says:

To ALL Andy and Nole Fans..i presented to you this song…Sing it together please!!You guys all deserve it..

Markus Says:

FD, I’m so ecstatic I can’t get offended and won’t want to offend anyone. I’m so glad I chose not to watch the semi-finals and the finals because bad things happen when I do. I did not even check the results until hours later. I’ll look for the replay. No suspense but I’ll be smiling all the way.

chrisford1 Says:

I’d add one nice extra for Andy and his proud parents. His brother Jamie lost in the semis but still had enough points to be year end #1 doubles player.
Quite a year for the Murrays!

Farah Diba Says:

Markus…Then,it’s a wise decision by you!I couldn’t agree more..ha ha..Hope you’ll enjoy and celebrate it to the fullest Markus..You got my blessing..He he..

RZ Says:

@Markus – I appreciate your company in the “we can’t watch Andy play because I’ll cause him to lose” crowd. :-)

Josh Says:

So glad murray won…Nole will have a very poor 2017..

Markus Says:

I have not watched live all three of the slams that Murray won but I have seen almost all those he lost, like this year’s Australian and French. Silly, right? But how can I think otherwise? However, I did see him win this year’s Olympics. Incidentally, that didn’t carry any ranking points.

RZ Says:

By winning the WTF in London, Murray has accomplished the London Triple: Queens, Wimbledon, and WTF in London. Add in the 2012 Olympic gold and he has a London Quadruple!

Rick Says:

Andy will always beat Jokervic, when Ivan is his coach. It was Mauresmo who screwed up Andy’s game, when Andy was being beaten by Jokervic in all these matches.

RZ Says:

@Rick – It was Mauresmo who helped improve Andy’s game on clay, which is a key piece to his rise to #1. The reason he had never gotten to #1 before (i.e., July 2013 when he held 2 slams) was his inability to do well on the clay. Lendl didn’t help him with his clay game; that was all Mauresmo.

Eric W. Says:

Nole’s passive play and defeatist attitude is mind boggling. “There was no serious chance for me to win today’s match.” Unbelievable, coming from the player who was the dominant world #1 until recently, and who owned Murray for most of his career. There’s something seriously wrong with his head, not to mention his waning physical strength. No pop on his shots, predictable cross court rallies, hideous unforced errors, no accuracy when going for winners, etc. But the worst sign of the whole match was not seeking a challenge with Murray serving in the 2nd set, 4-3, 30-15 and Nole hit the backhand that grazed the right sideline. Would’ve been 30-all with loads of pressure on Murray to hold. Almost seemed like he wanted to get it over with and go home and meditate with that effeminate Pepe Imaz buddy of his. Even though he won two GS titles and finally broke through at Roland Garros, this has turned into an unsatisfying year for Nole, and perhaps the beginning of the end of his time at the top of the game. If so, he will go down in history as a massive underachiever relative to his prodigious talent. So sad!

Danica Says:

Eric W.,
That will be his choice. His fans may be disappointed but in the end, who are we to judge him? Borg left when he was 26 because ha had it enough.

And yes, indeed, amazing result for Murray family as both guys are YE#1 in their respective disciplines. Wow, wow. How proud mom Judy must be!!!

Margot Says:

Markus, you’re another Andy fan I forgot, you’re too good at hiding during his matches! Sorry!
Still beaming, you?

Van Persie Says:


Completely agree with you there.
2015 was an amazing year for Novak, from the beginning until the end, but that final at RG made it a bit bitter for me to be honest. He corrected that in 2016.
I honestly hope and also think, he will not do a Borg and quit tennis so unexpected. But it is his choice in the end.
He did have ups and downs during his career, so not a so big surprise to have a ‘down’ now.

Now, it is Andy’s time. He and his fans may enjoy it. Well earned!

Willow Says:

Yeah super chuffed for Andy, he really did it the hard way, congrats to Margot, J-Kath, RZ, The DA,Colin, Racquet, Honfleuisie, etc etc, and anyone ive forgotten, an amazing end to the year, interestingly Andy now has as somebody pointed out hes won it all in London now ;-)), and great to see hes now targeting more GS ….

Sorry to the nice sensible Novak fans, Jalep, Courbon, Patson, Danica, Michael etc etc, it wasnt Novaks day, but what a year hes had winning 4 in a row, and im sure he will be back ….

Willow Says:

Now go get another GS, start next year with an AO, too many RU trophies there, and BTW loved the embrace between Andy and Novak at the end, but please dont get too friendly with your biggest rival Andy, you need to be ruthless now, and im pleased to see that Lendel has instilled that in you, no more Mr nice guy ….

FedExpress Says:

Amelie should get a huge credit for this. it was lendl who left murray hanging after murray had his back op. More variery in his game now.

Colin Says:

I was quite surprised at Nole’s singling out Kim for praise, emphasising how supportive she was for Andy. Surely this carries the unspoken implication that Mrs Djokovic is NOT sufficiently supportive. I bet she’ll take it that way, and Nole, who has in his time had a reputation for tactlessness. maybe he’s learned some of it from Boris Becker!

Don’t push your luck Novak!

Colin Says:

Somewhat chaotic, but I hope you see what I meant.

Daniel Says:

Agree VP, and Novak’s down lst part of the year is a few points behind Murray, other wise he would be #1 again. It took Murray a super run of five straigth titles, 4500 pts to stay on top of Novak.
It all can change very quickly.

I bet Murray would want to start AO in 2 weeks instead of 2 months. He would still be the man to beat early next year.

Khb Says:

I agree with Eric. Colin, you have a good point.
People kiss his butt too much.
That doesn’t mean that one should stop supporting Novak..
Murray is a strong fighter, but Novak just needs serious help.
Men should give him a piece of their minds.
Women tend to forget his behavior.
Novak truly thinks he is the pathetic Michael Jackson of tennis.
Just because he has money, a family & meditation doesn’t mean he should act like he won’t feel awful.
“There is no need to act spastic for the camera to pretend you care about being tough player.”

He looks like a pathetic senile man with his miserable git attitude.
Stop encouraging his peaceful magic nonsense & make him get the job done on the court. He seemed lost in his fantasy.
He makes Murray look like a ballbasher. Just put the ball on the court & nole will play the coddling sycophant.
It is just an obsession with the on/off switch of emotions. Not talent.

RZ Says:

I’m trying to find out if there are other instances in which the #1 ranked player beat the #2, #3, #4, and #5 players on the way to the title. It would probably only have happened at the year-end championships, although there could be instances where the rankings changed right before a tournament had begun but the seeds were based on older rankings to line up the possibility.

Van Persie Says:


I would also not be surprised, if 2017 would not be very good and if he had a better 2018, even if he will be 31 then. With Novak you never know.
Am not so sure, that Andy would be glad to play AO in 2 weeks. I think he is pooped, even if he did not show it yesterday :D

Khb Says:

People kept denying that there was something extremely wrong with Novak, especially the murray bandwagon jumpers.
Of course, Murray has supportive pals & family.
Even Mauresmo gave him her tough opinions.

Everyone kissed Novak butt and let him self-implode.
I guess they’re there to be yes people and nothing more.
Magic doesn’t happen just because sponsors & tourneys spoil him.
It looked good on the outside because of better health back then, but when you have no no-people, you become a bitter but wealthy sycophantic player.

Jenny Shekersavva Says:

I am very happy andy won l can imagine how happy he and his family must be feeling
well done andy keep up the good work for the coming year and a happy Christmas to you all

Danica Says:

You misunderstood what Novak has said. His wording and feelings about the matter are exactly the opposite. I have read a Serbian interview where he says that he applauds Kim for the immense sacrifice she must have made because that was exactly what Jelena had to do after the birth of their son. He was a witness and he understood how hard it was and now he appreciates her even more.

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