Newly crown world number one, Andy Murray, has been grouped alongside Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic for next week’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour Finals in London.
Murray, who reached the number one ranking for first time on Monday to end Novak Djokovic’s 122-week reign, would begin his group round-robin matches against in-form Croatian Cilic.
Five-time champion Djokovic, whose form has dipped since he completed his career grand slam by winning the French Open for first time in June, was placed in an easier-looking group with tournament debutants Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem and Canada’s Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic.
The 12-times grand slam-winning Serb who has a combined 23-0 career record against that trio, leading Monfils 13-0, Raonic 7-0 and Thiem 3-0, would open on Sunday against world number nine, Thiem.
Murray usurped Djokovic after winning the Paris Masters against John Isner yesterday, although he was already assured of becoming the 26th player to top the ATP rankings when Djokovic lost to Cilic at quarter-final stage and Raonic pulled out of their semi-final on Saturday.
Murray has strung together 18 consecutive wins and has won his last four tournaments since losing in U.S. Open quarter-finals to Japan’s Nishikori.
Cilic beat Murray in Cincinnati final, shortly before the U.S. Open, while Swiss Wawrinka, the U.S. Open champion, has beaten Murray seven times in 16 meetings, including at the Tour Finals last year when he won in straight sets.
Murray holds a 405-point lead over Djokovic but his record at London’s O2 Arena has been unimpressive, in seven previous appearances he has never reached the final, losing three times at the semi-final stage.
The defending champion Djokovic has won the title for the past four years, losing only one round-robin match in that time.
With 1,500 points available for an undefeated champion next week, the tournament could produce a thrilling climax with Murray and Djokovic, who have never met at the O2, facing off in the final for the year-end number one ranking.
“It’s nice to play in London ranked one, but once you are on the court you are not thinking about your ranking. It’s the top eight players and every match will be tough.” Murray told the ATP website
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