A new title maybe, but there is no chance of Andy Murray getting ahead of himself this week at the ATP World Tour Finals – especially with Ivan Lendl in his corner.
A week after officially taking over as world number one for the first time, Murray just did on Monday night what he tends to do with relentless efficiency these days, win tennis matches.
World number seven Marin Cilic put up a good fight and played some eye-catching tennis in the evening match at a packed O2 Arena but walked off scratching his head at a 6-3 6-2 defeat.
Murray, who has now won 20 consecutive matches, said talk of his rise to the tennis summit has been conspicuous by its absence since meeting up with task-master Lendl this week.
“We haven’t spoken about it,” Murray, who clinched the top ranking at the Paris Masters, said.
“We spoke on the phone about it. But since we’ve been here, I haven’t spoken with the team about it, not once.”
Murray’s insatiable appetite will not be satisfied until the year-end number one ranking is in the bag – an honour only achieved by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the last 12 years.
Deposed top dog Djokovic could snatch it back if he betters Murray’s performance in London, but Cilic believes the momentum Murray has means he will take some stopping.
“It’s a long way to go still. We’ll see definitely how things are going to play out,” the Croatian told reporters.
“But just for Andy, I feel maybe he’s a little bit more motivated obviously. When you are winning that much, it’s obviously easier to prepare and go with a new level of tennis.”
Murray fought off a succession of break points in the opening set and although he did drop his serve, he replied with two breaks of the Cilic delivery to take the set in 45 minutes.
The battle-hardened Scot broke in the fifth game of the second set with a belting forehand and again two games later.
Doubles top spot
Jamie Murray maintained his pursuit of the end-of-year doubles number one ranking with Brazilian partner Bruno Soares as they beat American greats Bob and Mike Bryan 6-3 6-4 at the ATP World Tour Finals yesterday.
Briton Murray, who with Soares won the Australian Open and US Open titles this year, could emulate younger brother Andy who is in a race to top the year-end singles rankings.
French pair Nicolas Mahut and Pierre Hugues Herbert lead the doubles standings but are under pressure after losing their opening match at the Tour Finals in London.
Murray and Soares have two wins from two in group play and are close to sealing a semi-final spot.
They are 175 points behind Herbert and Mahut who play their second group match today against Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez.
Group Ivan Lendl: Thiem bt Monfils 6-3 1-6 6-4.
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