Andy Murray’s work ethic is behind his had given rise to No1 and he can stay there | Kevin Mitchell

Andy Murray has moved the necessary improvements to his activity and mentality with his act ethic and, with contenders pausing, can stay at No1 for a while

Andy Murray has worked so hard to reach the top of his athletic which he differentiated emphatically by beating Novak Djokovic in straight establishes on Sunday that he intends to stay there for as long as he can. There is every probability he will still be No1 in countries around the world when he returns to defend his Wimbledon title next June and he may even be Sir Andy by then.

When I was always fourth in the world, I never liked mis, he said in the small hours after his 6-3, 6-4 acquire in an hour an 43 hours at the O 2 Arena to triumph his first ATP World Tour Finals and retain the world No1 grading he took from Djokovic in Paris a fortnight ago. But it didnt have the same kind of impact because I wasnt No1 and I wasnt like viewing on to something. Fourth neighbourhood in the world is still enormous but it isnt No1.

Maybe now, specially the last few months when I have had that goal there and have been trying to get there, I want to stay there. I dont feel too high just now, I feel good and I feel motivated to keep going. I have enjoyed the last five, six months the most I have in all of my career. That is probably because I have won a lot, so I want to keep going.

Murrays desire of boxing is not a travel whimsy. He recognises the similarities with tennis and he was especially tuned into Andre Wards qualities win over the awesome Russian Sergey Kovalevto acquire countries around the world light-heavyweight entitlement at the weekend, a win the American put together systematically rather than spectacularly, after being down in the second round.

I watched the fight this morning. A slew of experiences when “youre watching” a fight and then read “what theyre saying” subsequentlies, the person that you think has done the most injury, you think that might win you the fight, but it doesnt. Everything gets reset after each round.

A bit like tennis, then and a bit like his working careers? Yeah, I guess it is. Ward certainly won the second half of that fight and Kovalev obviously won the first part of the fight. A heap of the rounds, the fourth, fifth, sixth, were pretty close and you could see maybe the tallying disappearing either way. Kovalev did more damage, so people think he was robbed but I think it was pretty close. It was vicious close I think.

For Ward, read Murray, coming from behind to be No1 in countries around the world; for Kovalev, read Djokovic, letting an early advantage slip.

After 11 times on Tour Murray is reaping the richest dividend on his investment of hard work, relinquish and commitment. Those calibers might not be as glamorous as pure talent but all champions have them. If Murray abides fit and enthusiastic, he is perfectly placed to add to his three majors, handed Djokovics brand-new vulnerability and the spread to the next rank of contenders.

Roger Federer, at 35 and out of video games with knee and back troubles since late July, and 30 -year-old Rafael Nadal, cut down by a wrist hurt at Roland Garros that thrust him to miss Wimbledon and coming off his poorest season in a decade, have a lot of work to do to re-establish themselves as frontline challengers. The curious are against them. They have taken substantial grading hittings, Federer out of the top 10 for the first time in 14 times, down at 16, and Nadal slipping to ninth.

Of the brand-new intake at the top, Dominic Thiem did not show his best in London last week but will surely make an impact soon, as will the ever-volatile Nick Kyrgios, the increasingly impressive Milos Raonic and the win of three majors Stan Wawrinka, whose dominance and fortitude invariably illuminate the big-hearted tournaments but who admitted last week he is slowing down.

Only Djokovic is a realistic challenger to Murrays No1 grading but there is a definite feel his iron will is not what it was although he is still an extraordinary participate and will probably close the two-title gap on Nadals 14 majors and perhaps overtake Federers 17. Yet his aura has dimmed. He may soon question his heat or he may be revitalised by the challenge. Five months before he passed Murray by more than 8,000 grading spots. Now he has the task of protecting the points he collected like berries on a shrub at the beginning of 2016, a year that promised much but finished in misfortune and maybe a little concern.

Murray begins his reign in earnest after only the briefest remainder, at the Australian Open in Melbourne, from 16 January. For the first time he is very likely to start as favourite. Ivan Lendl, the premier architect of Murrays rise, together with his full-time manager Jamie Delgado, did not expect him to reach the upper part of the rankings until February or March but that scenario has changed dramatically in the space of three months, in which Murray has prevailed five titles in a row and is unbeaten in 24 matches.

The ATPs shrewd Australian specialist, Craig OShannessy, has recognized a key rationale Murray has been winning very often. A major component of Murrays ascendancy to world-wide No1 this season is his substantial progress on second help, OShannessy says. At the 2015 Australian Open Murrays average second-serve speed in his opening round against Yuki Bhambri was a pedestrian 85 mph. In his 2016 first-round accord in Melbourne against Alexander Zverev his second-serve speed averaged 93 mph, with the most wonderful at 108 mph.

Points acquired on second dish being continually risen for Murray from 51% won in 2014, 52% last year and now up to 54% in 2016, which sets him 13 th on tour this year in this critical category up from 25 th last-place season.

If those figures do not sound breathtaking, they have to be factored in to his all-round game. Even when his serve comes under tone distres, he has an uncanny capacity to make the most of an unpromising place, to the point where he annoys actors with the sheer stickability of his tennis.

Murray is the patron saint of lost causes, most spectacularly when he has to pursue deep and wide-cut. Countless times he saves a rallying alive with that surreal, wrist-flicked backhand hurl on the run that seems to laser in from a great meridian to within inches of the baseline at the other purpose. This consistent skill is not merely sows doubt about coming into the net but it commits Murray time to go in a better defensive post on the next shot, and reset the exchange.

So two unspectacular but vital components of his play underpin his week-in, week-out ability to beat less consistent players. They complete the picture of his mantra about hard work. When Murray is sweating for hours at his Miami training base, or fine-tuning his tournament in lesser tournaments before the first slam of the season, it is these and many other knowledge he sharpens in the process of preparing the 11 months to follow.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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