TENNIS: It won't go down as one of their more epic encounters, but in terms of significance it would be hard to top.
Andy Murray's third win over arch-rival Novak Djokovic since 2013, at the ATP World Tour Finals, not only brought with it $US2,391,000 ($3,265,000) in prizemoney, but also ensured he would indeed be the year-ending world No.1.
The 29-year-old Scot becomes the just the 17th man to hold such a title since the rankings were introduced in 1973 - and the first player other than Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal since Andy Roddick in 2003.
And he deserved it after claiming his 24th successive victory, 6-3 6-4, and fifth successive title in no uncertain terms against the man who had until recently stood on top of the world for 122 weeks.
The Serb, who this year beat Murray for both the Australian and French Open crowns, registered an uncharacteristic 30 unforced errors.
Murray claimed his second Wimbledon title and then Olympics gold earlier this year, but this triumph at London's O2 Arena was the icing on the cake.
"Right now to finish the year like this, this is the best possible way, obviously,” Murray said.
"It was just a huge match to try and finish No.1. This is a major event and one I've not done well in in the past, so it's been a great week.
"It was a big, big match against someone that would be my main rival really throughout my career.
"We played in all of the slam finals, Olympics, and now a match to finish the year No.1. It was obviously a big match, a very important win for me.”
Djokovic had won the last four ATP World Tour Finals.
"Definitely he is the No.1 in the world,” Djokovic said of Murray. "He is the best player and deserved to win. He played the better tennis in the decisive moments. Credit to Andy for being mentally tough.”
Ironically, Murray's coach, Ivan Lendl, is the oldest year-end No.1 (29 years, 299 days).
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