World No. 4 Andy Murray is looking to take full advantage of Roger Federer’s absence from the ATP Tour as he pushes to finish 2011 in the top three of the ATP world rankings.
Murray did not play in either Bangkok or Tokyo last season, and could pick up an extra 750 rankings points if he can win back-to-back titles, and with Federer having pulled out of Shanghai to rest, Murray has the chance to pass his rival.
Federer will drop 600 points with his withdrawal from the Shanghai Masters leaving him at 7,780 points on October 17, 2011 when they officially drop.
Should Murray win his this week in Tokyo he would be at 7,825 points on October 10, 2011; technically putting him ahead of Federer. The earliest he could officially take over the No. 3 spot in the rankings would be after defending his title in Shanghai. Murray defeated Federer in last year’s Shanghai Masters final, and should he go on to defend his title in China, he would overtake Federer as world No. 3, putting him in a good spot to end the year in the top three for the first time in his career.
If he fails to defend his title he would lose at a minimum 400 points, leaving him back at 7,425 points, a mere 355 points behind Federer. Federer was the best player on tour last fall and has a ton of points to defend when the tour switches to the indoor season. It will be very interesting to see how Federer responds to a serious challenge to his No. 3 ranking.
“By playing the full Asian stretch, there is a chance for me to try and move my ranking up by one spot, which is something I want to do by the end of the year,” Murray said.
In the end, I don’t necessarily think it matters to Federer if he is ranked No. 3 or No. 4, because it still keeps him in a similar place in the Grand Slam draw. However, it is pride that is at stake, and now Federer is having to deal with yet another of the younger generation trying to surpass him. I fully expect Federer to have a very solid finish to the year, after giving his body a chance to recuperate.
“Roger always plays very well on the European indoor courts, so I’m sure I’m going to have to win a lot more matches if I want to finish as number three,” added Murray.
Murray has now won 17 of his past 18 matches, with his only loss in that time to Rafael Nadal in a US Open semi-final.
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