ANDY Murray could hit the world number one spot within months, experts said today, after the Briton battled his way to a third Australian Open final.
Murray, the world number three, edged past Roger Federer in a “nerve-jangling” five-set thriller at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to set up a Sunday showdown with Novak Djokovic.
Tennis chiefs said Murray and Djokovic - whom the Scot beat to win the US Open in September - are arguably now the dominant pair in the game.
David Marshall, chief executive of Tennis Scotland, said: “On form they are probably numbers one and two in the world right now.
“Hopefully if Andy does win on Sunday then the number one ranking could become a reality in the months to come.
“That is a target that he’s set, but it all depends what happens in the French Open and Wimbledon.
“After what he’s achieved, I don’t think it would be a major shock if he reaches number one. He’s got the game, he’s got the ability and he’s shown he’s got the character as well.”
Murray, who had never beaten Federer at a major, missed the chance to serve out the match in the fourth set, but hit back in the fifth to set up a rematch with Djokovic.
Mr Marshall said Murray played a virtually perfect final set.
“It was nerve jangling as is often the case but it was a fantastic, gritty performance,” he said.
“I think in the past, having managed to be broken in the fourth set, there might have been a reaction, but I think Andy’s maturity is such now that he just completely put that out of his mind and played an almost flawless final set.
“I think he also showed that, having won the Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows, there’s not the same pressure on him - and it showed in his tennis.