WORLD No 1 Andy Murray says he he will focus on maintaining his performance levels rather than on ending the year in top spot.
Murray marked reaching the summit of world tennis by beating big-serving American John Isner in three hard-fought sets in the BNP Paribas Masters final in Paris to secure his eighth ATP Tour title of the season.
The 29-year-old Scot, already assured of the No 1 spot for the first time in his career before yesterday’s 6-3 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 win against 6ft 10ins Isner, will now prepare for next week’s World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.
Who is the greatest? Vote in our online poll HERE
Murray will enter the season-ending showpiece event for the world’s top eight players 405 points ahead of Novak Djokovic, who had spent 122 consecutive weeks as No 1 from July 2014 before his quarter-final defeat in Paris to Marin Cilic.
“I’m not so much thinking about finishing the year as world No 1,” said Murray after his victory over Isner in two hours and 18 minutes.
“I wanted to try and get there if possible, but I want to just play well at the O2.
“I feel like some of the years there I’ve not played my best tennis, maybe not done myself justice, so I want to go and play good tennis. It doesn’t guarantee winning against the best players in the world, but I don’t want to finish the year on a bad note having not played well there.
“So I’ll get a few days’ rest now and start preparing for that and hopefully finish well.”
Isner produced some inspired tennis, especially in the second set, but Murray was clinical, saving his best moments for the biggest points.
The Briton clinched his only break points in the first and third sets at the first attempts to seal the 43rd tour-level title of his career and his 14th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.
Murray paid tribute to his family and support team after his victory.
“To my team and all of my family, who are watching back home, this has been an incredible journey for me to get to the top of the rankings, I couldn’t have done it without you,” he said.
“Thanks to them for all their hard work. They make a lot of sacrifices to allow me to compete and travel the world.
“A big thank you to all of you and I’ll keep working to keep getting better.”
Murray said he did not feel more nervous than usual after Milos Raonic’s withdrawal from their scheduled semi-final on Saturday due to a leg injury had seen the Scot overhaul Djokovic at the top of the rankings.
“I actually felt pretty good,” he added. “I was nervous before the match, I had a good practice (yesterday morning).
“I obviously wanted to come out and try and win this event. I’ve never won here before.
“It was a tournament, before last year, that I’d always struggled at. I’d never got past the quarter-finals so I wanted to try and win and managed to and I want to keep going.
“It’s been a great year and I want to try and finish it as well as I can.”
Former British No 1 Tim Henman, meanwhile, believes Murray can consolidate his position at the top of world tennis and is now the man to beat.
“For me, Andy’s going to be the player to beat. Serving his apprenticeship and waiting for his moment, I do feel this is his moment,” said Henman.
“He’s going to be No 1 on Monday and I really hope he can go on and finish the year well at the O2 (at the ATP World Tour Finals) to finish the year as No 1 and build on it for next year and beyond.
“But as we know in sport, especially tennis with the number of events there are in a calendar year, things can change very quickly. But if Andy stays fit and healthy I see him being the dominant force moving forward.”