Andy Murray is the year-end World No. 1 for the first time in his career. Novak Djokovic, following a loss in the final from London to the Scot, finishes the year ranked 2nd for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. The 2016 season really was one that saw the two players exchange periods of dominance, a point that Roger Federer recognized in a recent tweet from his verified account.

Roger Federer congratulates Murray/Djokovic

After the final at the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday, Roger Federer tweeted "Epic start to the year by (Novak Djokovic). Epic end to the year by (Andy Murray), ending #1.

Congrats guys" (Nov 20th). Novak Djokovic started the 2016 season as he so often has, with strong play in the month of January. He started the season with a title in Doha, claiming the title there through Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych. Djokovic then won yet another Australian Open with a late-round draw through Kei Nishikori, Federer, and Murray. After that he won both Indian Wells and Miami before the start of the clay-court season. That part of the 2016 schedule would see him win both Madrid and his first title at Roland Garros, a result that completed his career Grand Slam.

Shortly thereafter his play definitely dipped. He lost in the third round of Wimbledon 2016 to Sam Querrey, a puzzling result at first that became less puzzling when whispers of injury started to buzz.

Novak Djokovic would later win the Rogers Cup in a draw that lacked several top players. However, he then lost in the first round in Rio, he had a weird US Open, and he missed some action in the fall with more fitness problems. It was when those problem arose that Murray's form took off.

Murray took flight when Djokovic stumbled

The Scot won Wimbledon for the second time in his career, defeating Canadian Milos Raonic in the final. Andy Murray then won the Rio gold medal back in the summer ahead of a nice run to the Cincinnati Masters final. Murray then suffered an upset at the US Open in the quarters, but after that it was lights out.

He won titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna, Paris, and London to claim the World No. 1 ranking.

Federer's tweet acknowledges both runs from the top-two players. However, when Novak Djokovic enjoyed his best stretch in 2016, Murray was certainly not idle. The Scot made the final at the Aussie and at the French Open. Furthermore, Andy Murray accrued ranking points in numerous other events early in the season.

Djokovic missing time in the last half of the season, ultimately hurt him. There are many moments in the season that could be isolated as being crucial. However, Djokovic missing Beijing and then losing ahead of the finals in Shanghai and Paris are late-season bumps that take on some significance.

If he had won the title in Beijing, as he has on so many occasions, and if he had made the final of either Shanghai or Paris then the Serb would be No. 1 still.

Yet the bottom line isn't the shoulda-coulda-woulda scenarios: in the big picture and with everything weighted, Murray had the best season in 2016. He is the player of the year for this first time in his career and it is much deserved at what has to be called perhaps the latter third of his career.

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