Qualifying begins: 26 June
The Draw: 30 June
Pre-event Press Conferences: 1 & 2 July
Order of Play: 2 July
Championships begin: 3 July
COME BACK FOR LIVE SCORES & LIVE BLOG FROM 26 JUNE
It was not quite the way Andy Murray had planned it. The moment he became the world No.1, ending Novak Djokovic’s run of 122 straight weeks at the top and making history as the first British man to rule the world of tennis was not supposed to happen like this.
For half a year, Murray had been hunting down Djokovic with lung-bursting effort, winning six titles in five months – including, of course, the Wimbledon crown – and eye-wateringly consistent results.
For weeks, the number crunchers had been working out exactly what the Scot needed to do to reel in the Serb and land his top spot in the rankings. Every scenario had been covered, analysed and discussed. Except this one.
It was not so long ago that Murray would not dare contemplate challenging for the top of the rankings. Blessed – or cursed, depending on your point of view – to be playing in maybe the greatest era the game has ever seen, he has spent his professional life chasing after messrs Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. Those three have 43 grand slam titles between them and have dominated the world rankings for the past 13 years. To break up that cartel would take something really special and to do it Murray would have to play like a man possessed. But he did and he has.
“I think that's the most satisfying thing, really,” he said. “It's been such a difficult thing to do during my career because of how good the guys around me have been, the guys ahead of me.
“Even this year, the year I have had to have to even be there for one week and be like 20 points ahead or whatever it is. I have had to win so many matches and get to the latter stage of pretty much every tournament that I have played.
“It's just been really, really hard to do it, been really difficult. Obviously they are three of the best players that have ever played the game and had some of the years that they have had in that period, as well, have been, ridiculous, really, like winning three slams and double slams and many Masters Series, as well. So it's taken a great year to get there.”
Murray’s maths was slightly awry: by reaching the Paris final, he was only five points ahead of Djokovic. With the ATP Finals and, potentially 1,500 ranking points on offer to the winner, everything can change again by the end of the season. No matter: Murray was the world No.1. He had done it. He was the lord of all he surveyed. Or, at least, he was if he could get through the Paris final unscathed.
The new rankings list will not be published until Monday morning; Murray still has to wait to see the figure “1” next to his name. As a result, he goes into the Paris final against John Isner determined to mind his Ps and Qs.
“I'm not sure this is right in the rules,” he explained carefully, “but if I get defaulted in the final, I don't think I get the points from this week. So I need to make sure I'm on my best behaviour, keep my racket in my hands, and all will be well on Monday [when the rankings come out].”
After a week of surprises in the French capital, the new world No.1 was leaving nothing to chance.