Sports

Tough draw for Murray

New world No. 1 has work cut 
out in Tour Finals group stage

If new world No. 1 Andy Murray is to win the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time, he will have to dig deep into 
his reserves.

The 29-year-old Scot has his work cut out in the group stage, where he has been drawn with rivals who have beaten him recently, if not frequently.

Murray will open his campaign at London's O2 Arena next Monday against Marin Cilic, whom he lost to during their last meeting in the Cincinnati final in August, just two months after he had beaten the Croat in the Queen's Club semi-finals.

His two other opponents - Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori - won't come easy, too.

Murray lost three of his last four matches against world No. 3 Wawrinka, including in last year's group stage, although he did beat the Swiss in their only meeting in this year's French Open semi-finals.

Murray also lost to Nishikori in the US Open quarter-finals, after beating him at the Rio Olympics and in the Davis Cup.

Having ended Novak Djokovic's 122-week reign at the top of the world rankings on Saturday, Murray arrives at London's O2 Arena with a huge incentive to take the title.

To ensure his first taste of the No. 1 position lasts more than two weeks, Murray must match or better Djokovic's performance at the Tour Finals, a tournament the Serb has won for the last four years.

After winning Wimbledon for a second time and then taking the second Olympic singles gold of his career, Murray can cap a dream year by lifting the Tour Finals trophy.

"Yesterday was a great day, today has just been a normal day at home with the family," said Murray.

"Once you're out on the court, you don't think about your ranking. You're playing against the top eight players in the world.

LOOK FORWARD

"I look forward to getting out there and playing at the O2. I'll try and take a few days' rest now, start hitting again on Thursday. I need a few days' break.

"It will be one big push for all the guys. Everyone has played a lot of tennis and hopefully everyone can play well."

After looking invincible in the first half of the year, Djokovic, who faces Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem in the other group, finds himself playing second fiddle to Murray.

The reigning Australian and French Open champion will play in the first match of the Tour Finals on Sunday against rising Austrian star Thiem. - AFP.


WORLD TOUR FINALS

JOHN MCENROE GROUP

  • Andy Murray (Britain, 1)
  • Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland, 3)
  • Kei Nishikori (Japan, 5)
  • Marin Cilic (Croatia, 7)

IvAN LENDL GROUP

  • Novak Djokovic (Serbia, 2)
  • Milos Raonic (Canada, 4)
  • Gael Monfils (France, 6)
  • Dominic Thiem (Austria, 9)

*World rankings in brackets. **Top two in each group to meet in semis.

TennisANDY MURRAY