Andy Murray reached the pinnacle of the men’s game in 2016 by surpassing Novak Djokovic to become the number one player in the world. The Brit now faces the task of building in his success by adding to his haul of Grand Slam titles beginning at the Australian Open at the start of next year.
Although the 29-year-old had an impressive calendar year, he was only able to add one major title to his collection, winning Wimbledon for the second time in his career. It was a fine achievement by Murray, but his path to the crown was eased by Djokovic’s early exit at the All England Club.
The Serb has been Murray’s nemesis in the final of Grand Slams, none more so than the Australian Open where he has defeated him four times, including back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016. As a result, the Brit will be determined to get over the hump and clinch the title in Melbourne.
He will enter a Grand Slam for first time as the strongest candidate to win the crown, and although he has faced intense pressure before at Wimbledon, entering the stadium as world number one will bring a different kind of demand. backed in the latest bet365 tennis betting odds at 6/4 to win his fourth Grand Slam crown, but he will know that every player on the tour will be raising the level of their game to knock him off his perch.
The 29-year-old played arguably the best tennis of his career towards the end of the season, reeling off tour titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and the ATP Tour Finals. His performances in those events were outstanding, culminating in him leapfrogging over Djokovic as the Serb struggled immensely to find anywhere near his best game.
For all the strides he made during the year the one thing that eluded him was a signature win over his great rival. However, he was handed the opportunity in the final of the ATP Tour at the 02 Arena after a string of fine performances against the world’s best to secure the berth. Djokovic would have retaken his place at the top of the rankings with a victory, but Murray was too strong for the 12-time Grand Slam champion, dominating him on the court to claim the win in two straight sets.
The Brit has reached a crucial point in his career as he is now the best player on the tour. He has the chance to add a significant number of major titles to his collection in 2017 before he begins to show signs of wear and tear on the body like Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.
He has been extremely consistent at the Australian Open, no player has reached more finals of the competition without winning the tournament than the 29-year-old. Murray could make a statement right from the off that he is going to dominate 2017 by cruising to the title, and should he continue to display the form of late 2016 then there is no reason why he should not be able to do just that.