Andy Murray faces testing ATP World Tour Finals draw

November 8, 2016

Andy Murray faces a testing draw if he is to make progress in the ATP World Tour finals, but the newly-crowned world number one is unlikely to be fazed by the challenge that awaits him.

The draw placed the Scot in the John McEnroe Group, where he will face Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic. The Ivan Lendl group will see Novak Djokovic take on Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem. Raonic is struggling to be fit after his withdrawal from the Paris Masters semi-final, so Tomas Berdych is on standby to take his place.

Murray has had mixed fortunes against his three group opponents. US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has won three of their last four meetings, although Murray ended the Swiss star's French Open campaign with a brilliant semi-final performance in their only meeting so far this year.

Nishikori and Cilic have both won their most recent encounters with Murray, with Nishikori prevailing in their US Open quarter-final and Cilic winning the final of the Cincinnati Masters. However, Murray was arguably jaded after going all the way in both Wimbledon and the Olympics and he has a strong winning record against both the 2014 US Open finalists, including a victory indoors in Britain against Nishikori earlier this year in the Davis Cup tie in Birmingham. Against that, Cilic will be feeling confident about his prospects after beating Djokovic in Paris.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the event will have plenty to be excited about, with Murray trying to win the tournament for the first time and Djokovic knowing that victory in every match he plays would enable him to regain the world number one ranking. Having won the title five times, including in each of the past four years, he should be feeling confident despite his recent wobbles.

Commenting on the draw, Murray said: "You're playing against the best players in the world in this event. The top eight players are here, and every match is extremely tough.

"I look forward to getting out there. It's obviously an amazing atmosphere, playing at The 02."

The opening matches will be on November 13th in the Ivan Lendl Group, which means Murray could be guaranteed the year end number one position before he even takes to the court, should Djokovic lose his first match.

Doubles fans will also be able to enjoy a player called Murray with experience of being world number one, as Jamie and his partner Bruno Soares will be in the Edberg-Jarryd Group. They have been drawn with Ivan Dodic and Marcelo Melo, Treat Huwi and Max Myrni, plus the Bryan brothers.

The other group includes Murray's former playing partner John Peers, with the Australian and his current partner Henri Kontinen drawn against Raven Klaasen and Ravij Ram, Marc Lopez and Feliciano Lopez, plus the French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

As well as showing who the top dogs are in tennis now, the tournament may lay down a marker for 2017, when the biggest events will include the return of top-class tennis to London in the Aegon Championships and the Championships, Wimbledon.

By Alex Brundell

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