The Battle For Year-End No. 1 Explained
Murray, who rose to World No. 1 for the first time in his career on 7 November after winning the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, is hoping to become just the 17th man in history (since 1973) to finish a season at No. 1. Djokovic is looking to finish No. 1 for the third consecutive year and for the fifth time overall.
The last time a World No. 2 dethroned the incumbent World No. 1 at the season finale to claim the prestigious year-end No. 1 title was back in 2001, when Lleyton Hewitt overtook Gustavo Kuerten in Sydney.
So, what are the key scenarios in the battle for No. 1? There are many different ways both players can clinch year-end No. 1, but here are the two key and simplest pathways in which both players hold their fates in their own hands.
Murray clinches if he wins the tournament. Djokovic clinches if he wins at least two of his three group-stage matches and continues on to win the title. Should Djokovic win two group-stage matches and meet Murray in the final, the last match of the season will determine who finishes No. 1.
Fans following the players’ respective Emirates ATP Rankings points totals should know this: Although Murray came into the tournament with a 405-point lead on paper, that really is only a 130 point lead in the battle for year-end No. 1. Why? Because Murray’s points total includes 275 points earned at last year’s Davis Cup final, which will drop from his total on Monday, 28 November, the day the year-end Emirates ATP Rankings are calculated. (When players earn points at an event, they stay on their ranking for exactly 52 weeks, then drop.)
For each group-stage match win at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, players earn 200 points. A semi-final win means an additional 400 points and a win in the final brings a further 500 points.