Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Andy Murray's on top of the world

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: Andy Murray of Great Britain smiles next to the Gentlemen's Singles Trophy during an event to meet fans following his victory in the Wimbledon Championships Gentlemen's Singles final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the Black Prince Community Hub on July 8, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for adidas)

The post-Wimbledon world rankings list yesterday showed that Andy Murray is still not officially the world's best player, but Ivan Lendl, his coach, indicated that he believes there is currently nobody better than the 26-year-old Scottish ace.

Even with the boost of his 2,000 ranking points for winning Wimbledon, Murray is still nearly 3,000 behind Novak Djokovic, the man he beat in Sunday's final. Lendl pointed out that while Murray holds two Grand Slam titles -- Wimbledon and the US Open -- and is also the Olympic champion, no other player has won more than one Grand Slam tournament in the last 12 months.

"Novak is a great player, don't get me wrong," Lendl said. "He has been phenomenal since since the start of 2011, so the rankings look at all of that.

"But, under pressure, right now Andy has two majors and a gold medal. Everybody can make their own opinion on that."

The rankings are calculated on a rolling total of points won over the last 12 months.

In yesterday’s updated totals, for example, points won at Wimbledon last year were removed and replaced by points won at this year’s event.

Murray trails Djokovic because of both his absence from the recent French Open through injury — the Scot earned no points while the Serb won 720 points as beaten semi-finalist — and the world No 1’s greater consistency away from the Grand Slam events.

Murray said that the world No 1 position was not a particular goal but added: “It is a tough one for me. Right now I’ve won two Slams and been in the final of a third one and I hold the Olympic gold — and I’m nowhere near winning being No 1. I don’t know exactly why that is.

“ Maybe I need to be more consistent in the other events and missing the French obviously didn’t help that.”

He added: “I don’t think the ranking systems always reflects a player’s qualities perfectly. You are more remembered for the Slams you win. I would rather win one more Slam and not get to No 1.”

Lendl believes that Murray’s victory on Sunday owed something to the experience of playing in last year’s Wimbledon final, when he lost to Roger Federer.

“If he hadn’t played last year’s final then he wouldn’t have been prepared that well (this time),” Lendl said. “I think it was a great experience to have. Any time you play a major finals and you get that experience I think it’s very important.”

The eight-times Grand Slam champion said he had enjoyed Murray’s Wimbledon triumph “probably a little bit more” than the US Open victory last year “because New York was the first one, even though I count the Olympics as a Major as well, especially in London. But this one is more difficult because there is more pressure on Andy here”

Asked whether he could have imagined that success would have come so quickly since he became Murray’s coach 18 months ago, Lendl said: “My expectations were to do the best job I can to give Andy the best chances to win.”

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