World number one Andy Murray will look to cement his place at the top of the rankings at the final tournament of the year, the ATP World Tour Finals. Murray has enjoyed the best season of his career to date and will look to continue his incredible run into the most prestigious tournament of the ATP calendar where the year-end number one ranking will be in play.
After a fifth runner-up showing at the Australian Open and a couple of surprise second round losses at the first masters tournaments of the year the turning point of the Brit's year came in the clay season.
Where after making the semifinals and the final in Monte-Carlo and Madrid respectively, he went one better at the Internazionale BNL d'Italia where he defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to take the title before heading to Roland Garros, where a couple of scrappy five-set wins in the opening rounds proved crucial in the Brit's confidence for the rest of the season.
Since losing out to Djokovic in the final in Paris, Murray has notched an outstanding forty-seven wins and only three losses, which earned him three ATP 500 titles, two Masters titles, a second Wimbledon crown and a historic second Olympic gold medal. The Brit hasn't lost a match since the five-set Davis Cup epic against Juan Martin del Potro in September and is currently on a twenty-one match win streak.
Past results at the year-end championships
Murray has an even 11-11 win-loss record at the World Tour Finals. He has made the semifinals on three occasions during his seven appearances, on his debut in 2008, and again in 2010 and 2012.
Since 2012 however, Murray has not made it past the round robin stage since. In 2013, the Brit was forced to withdraw due to back surgery and the following year during his recovery, he had to make an exhausting last minute run just to qualify and ended up paying the price with only one win in the round robin stages and a crushing 6-0 6-1 defeat to Roger Federer in the end.
Last year, Murray was practicing on clay during the tournament in order to be prepared for the Davis Cup final, which at the time was his clear priority and again only managed the one win.
Murray's chances in 2016
If Murray wants to keep his number one ranking, he's going to have to do it the hard way. The world number one has been handed a nightmare draw this year, with Murray headlining the John McEnroe group alongside Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, and Marin Cilic. Murray leads the head to head records against all three group opponents and has a 27-12 combined win-loss record against them, but is still likely to face a challenge against the tough opposition.
Murray has lost to Wawrinka and Nishikori before at the O2 Arena but leads the head-to-head against both in 2016. The Brit has faced off against Wawrinka once already this year in the semifinals at Roland Garros, where Murray came through in four impressive sets to dispatch the 2014 champion. Murray has had a tougher time against Nishikori, with wins in the Olympics and in an epic five-set Davis Cup encounter.
The Japanese star won their most recent encounter in a dramatic five-set quarterfinal battle at the US Open. Murray has faced off against Cilic twice this year and each man has one win to their name, with the Brit coming out on top in the semifinals at the Aegon Championships and Cilic claiming a surprise victory in the final of the Western and Southern Open where he took his first masters title.
Every one of the John McEnroe group members is capable of reaching the semifinals. With Cilic in red hot form, Wawrinka claiming a grand slam title for the third straight year and Nishikori already pulling off an upset victory over Murray on one of the biggest stages this year, it's going to be a tough battle to get through the group stages for any one of the players. With no distractions preceding the tournament this year and Murray in the best form of his career, the Brit is undoubtedly the favorite to come out on top of the group.
Only one loss has come for Murray on indoor hard courts this year, and since that loss, Murray has reeled off twenty-one wins in a row, including four straight titles and two on indoor hard courts. Murray is also unbeaten in London this year with titles at both Queens Club and Wimbledon. With the court speed apparently being raised to match that of the BNP Paribas Masters, where the Brit won the title, he is likely to continue his outstanding form at the O2 Arena. With the home crowd behind their new world number one, it is going to take something special to stop Murray from at least making the final and finishing the year strong.