In a year where Novak Djokovic became the first player to win all four Grand Slam titles, there is a possibility that he could lose out on Player of the Year honors.
It’s unlikely, but plausible.
What makes is plausible is the way Andy Murray is playing of late. If Murray captures the US Open, then he will have a stronger case.
Currently Murray has a Wimbledon title and reached the finals of the Australian and French Opens, both of which Djokovic won. Then you throw in the Olympic gold medal, that’s an incredibly strong year.
What might give Murray an edge is how Djokovic had done at Wimbledon and the Olympics.
Djokovic lost in the third round at the All England Club to No. 41 Sam Querrey and the first round in Rio, although he did lose to the eventual silver medalist in Juan Martin Del Potro, who is currently No. 141 in the rankings.
It’s been a draining year for Djokovic, who has played at a superior level for an incredibly long time. But since the award is for accomplishments since January, he could be leaving the door open for Murray.
It won’t be easy for Murray. He would have to win the US Open, and he has never won two majors in the same season (depending on how you rank an Olympic gold medal). And the US Open is the most grueling Slam.
Now if Murray does win the US Open, that might still not be enough to surpass Djokovic.
In Masters 1000 events, Djokovic has won four of six events. Murray has won just one, but did reach two finals.
How much the Masters 1000 events count into Player of the Year honors, I’m not sure, but these are significant tournaments.
And there is also the ATP finals in November. If Murray can win that, then people will have to look closely.
So US Open and ATP Finals titles, and with Djokovic still playing high-level tennis, is a huge mountain for Murray to climb.
But it is also possible.