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Murray wants Fed, Rafa fit and firing

Press AssociationPress Association 21/11/2016

Andy Murray is hoping all his big rivals will offer him competition for the No.1 ranking in 2017.

The Scot overcame a deficit of more than 8,000 points following his defeat by Novak Djokovic in the French Open final in June to overhaul the Serbian ahead of the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

By triumphing in the winner-takes-all showdown with Djokovic in the final at London's O2 Arena, Murray ensured he will take a 630-point lead at the head of the standings into 2017.

And, by beating the players ranked two, three, four, five and six at the end of the season, Murray proved without doubt that he deserves his place at the top of the tennis world.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have both been beset by injuries in 2016, the former for the first time in his career.

Federer played only seven tournaments in 2016 and dramatically cut short his season in July in a bid to recover fully from knee surgery.

Nadal had looked to be getting back to top form heading into the French Open but tearfully pulled out during the tournament with a wrist injury.

He rushed his return in order to play at the Olympics and performed better than expected in Rio but struggled thereafter and ended his season prematurely last month.

Federer is now 35 and Nadal 30, and there must be serious doubts about how much of a force they can be going forward, but Murray, for one, hopes they can recapture some past glories.

"This year I think has been hard in some ways because of Roger and Rafa missing large parts of the year," Murray said.

"They have massive fan bases, not just for everything they've achieved on the court, but because they're obviously charismatic guys and are very, very popular.

"If the two of them can come back and be healthy, then some of the younger guys who I think are going to be great players, a few of them are really exciting personalities, as well, with exciting games. I think tennis is in a good place just now. It would be better if the two of them were fit."

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have all had periods of sustained dominance and, although Murray is nearly 30 himself, he has never been in better shape physically and is undoubtedly playing the best tennis of his career.

The Wimbledon champion insisted he has never considered the possibility of a 'Murray era' but is determined to seize the chance to add to his three grand slam titles if possible.

"I'd obviously want to try and achieve as much as I can these next few years because I'm not going to be around forever," he said.

"I'm not going to be able to play at this level and play this many matches into my mid-30s.

"These next few years, obviously I want to try and make them the best of my career, try and win as much as I can. But it's going to be tough because, as you get older, the young guys are going to keep improving and getting better."

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