Andy Murray finding life at No. 1 anything but charmed
Andy Murray was still a teenager ranked in the 500s when Roger Federer first ascended to the No. 1 ranking in early 2004. Some 237 weeks later, in August 2008, when Rafael Nadal wrested that No. 1 away from Federer, Murray, then 21, was less than one month from reaching his first Grand Slam final.
It would be eight more years — most of it featuring his junior nemesis and friend Novak Djokovic as the ATP World Tour’s top player — before Murray would finally reach the summit of the game.
It happened last fall, in the midst of a fast and furious run, when Murray blazed his way through the home stretch of the season to become second-oldest man, at 29, to debut at No. 1.
Murray, like most aspiring pros, invariably lists becoming the top player as a future goal. But he was one of the of the few fortunate players — the 26th on the ATP Tour to be exact — to live his dream.
But be careful what you wish for. After five months, Andy Murray is beginning to understand just how difficult occupying that rare space can be.
Murray was asked if he might consider playing Barcelona, where he trained for more than two years as a junior, or Budapest next week, but seemed to lean more toward training to improve his conditioning. His first priority is returning home to London to watch his father-in-law Nigel Sears, who just turned 60, run the 37th London Marathon on Sunday.
Murray still has a big lead over Djokovic (11,600 points to 7,905) for No. 1 ranking, so he again will be the top seed in his next event. The hunted and, possibly, haunted top seed.
Another famous Brit No. 1, William Shakespeare, saw it coming more than 400 years ago, at the end of the 16th Century.
In King Henry IV, Part 2, the old sovereign muses to himself about the complexities of life as a monarch.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” he says.
As Andy Murray continues to discover.