Andy Murray will begin 2017 as the world No 1 in the men’s tennis rankings after beating Novak Djokovic in the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday. Whether he can stay there, and where he goes from here, is one of the intriguing plotlines for next year, writes Graham Caygill.
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More majors for Murray
The Briton’s victory in the ATP World Tour finals on Sunday in London capped a superb second half to 2016. The target will now be to build on it next year by winning more grand slams. First on the agenda will be the Australian Open in January. The world No 1 has never won in Melbourne, losing five finals, but finally triumphing at the season’s first major would be a big statement of intent.
Where next for Djokovic?
There were signs of the Serbian finding his form during his run to the final in London last week, but he has been disappointing since he completed his career Grand Slam by winning the French Open in June. Whether he has the hunger and drive to take back from the No 1 ranking from Murray will be one of the main narratives of 2017.
Nadal and Federer’s roles
Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer sat out the closing weeks of the season due to injuries. The pair, who have won 31 majors between them, will both be back in action early in 2017, and it will be fascinating to see if Nadal, now world No 9, and Federer, No 16, still have the game to move back up the list and challenge Murray and Djokovic.
Milos Raonic has established himself as the top player in the men’s game who is yet to win a major. The big-serving Canadian reached his first grand slam final at Wimbledon, and he has improved since then. He pushed both Murray and Djokovic hard at the ATP World Tour Finals and if he carries that form into 2017 he has a great chance of a first major title.
The Del Potro factor
Juan Martin del Potro’s return to the Tour after being sidelined for two years with a wrist injury was one of the highlights of 2016. A silver medal in the Olympic Games singles, reaching the last eight at the US Open and guiding Argentina to the Davis Cup final has shown what he is capable of. He started the year at No 590 and ends it at No 38. His target for 2017 will be to keep that momentum going.