New world number one Andy Murray has put his ascent to the top of the tennis rankings down to years of hard work.
The 29-year-old marked another chapter in his extraordinary career by reaching the pinnacle of the world rankings for the first time on Saturday.
He needed to make the final of the Paribas Masters in Paris to overtake Novak Djokovic as the world’s best player, but his semi-final opponent Milos Raonic withdrew with an injury before the match, giving Murray a walkover to the final and the world number one position.
He said: “It feels a little bit strange how it’s happened today and obviously unfortunate that Milos is injured.
“To get to this stage is about 12 months of tournaments. The last few months have been the best of my career and I’m very proud to get to this moment.’’
The Scot’s latest achievement comes at the end of another year of triumph, after he won his second Wimbledon title as well as retaining his Olympic title in 2016.
“I feel like getting to number one, it wasn’t about this week, or about last week. It’s been many years of work to get here,” he added.
“The most satisfying thing is, it’s been such a difficult thing to do in my career.
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“In the beginning of my career, I always wanted to win a Grand Slam, but now that I’ve gotten older, getting to number one was something I have tried to do.
“I needed to improve my consistency and the last couple of seasons I have done that. I’m happy to have done that.”
Murray can celebrate his new ranking in style on Sunday with victory over US player John Isner in what will be the 12th final of arguably the greatest year of his career.
The ranking changes are made official on Monday and will make the Scot the first British singles player to hold the top spot since the ATP tour points system was introduced in 1973.
His brother Jamie reached the number one ranking in men’s doubles tennis earlier this year.
Mother Judy Murray tweeted a picture of herself and Andy chatting on a tennis court when he was a teenager, and wrote “You’ve come a long way baby”, along with a number one and a love heart emoji.
Sir Chris Hoy, the six-time Olympic gold-winning cyclist, described Murray as Scotland’s best ever athlete.
He tweeted: “Congratulations to @andy_murray on becoming World no.1. For me, Scotland’s greatest ever sportsperson.”
Thousands of others added their congratulations to Murray on social media.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “He’s done it!! Andy Murray is officially the best tennis player in the world. What an incredible achievement. Congratulations #numberone.”