Before he lifted his first Grand Slam trophy on Monday night, Murray came closer than he ever has before this year— taking the first set from Wimbledon champion Roger Federer before the Swiss Maestro roared back to win the next three sets.
Following the conclusion of this year’s US Open, four different players have won Grand Slams this year—Djokovic won the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal won the French Open, Federer won Wimbledon and now Murray has won the US Open.
For the first time since the great Roger Federer emerged on the tennis scene, no single player has really dominated the Tour this season.
One could say that Federer has been the best player because he has won the most tournaments this season and currently holds the No. 1 ranking.
But Djokovic is not far behind Federer in the race to finish the year as No. 1, and Djokovic has actually earned the most ranking points out of any player on tour this year.
The Spaniard Rafael Nadal has had a miserable season by his standards, but he still—as usual—ran the tables during the clay court season, and reached the final of the Australian Open at the beginning of the year.
And, of course, Murray won the US Open and is currently enjoying his most successful season on tour.
The 25 year-old Scot enjoyed a summer season consisting of his first Wimbledon final, an Olympic gold medal and now his first Grand Slam title coming from the US Open.
Statistically, Murray finishes the Grand Slam season with one title, one runner-up appearance, one semifinal appearance and one quarterfinal appearance— a record only outdone by Djokovic, who played in every Grand Slam final except for Wimbledon.
Strictly from a numbers standpoint, Djokovic has clearly the best player on tour this year— he currently holds a 1005-point advantage over Federer for the 2012 points standings (according to the ATP World Tour website).
If we were to go by that logic, even Rafael Nadal has had a better season than Murray, and it remains unknown whether or not we will see Nadal back on the courts before the end of 2012.
After winning the US Open, Murray stated that his next target is to finish the season at No. 1. If he can back up the titles he won during the Asian hard court season last year and make a good run at the indoor tournaments, he may just have a shot at achieving his goal.
Pending his performances at the final events, has Andy Murray been a worthy candidate for the best player of the season?