GREAT Britain’s Andy Murray has become world number one for the first time in his career after Canadian Milos Raonic withdraws from their Paris Masters semi-final later today.

The Scot, 29, needed to reach the final to secure top spot after Serbian and current number one Novak Djokovic lost to Marin Cilic on Friday.

But Murray’s route to the final was made straightforward after Raonic, previously coached by John McEnroe, pulled out of the French encounter due to injury.

Murray will now face American John Isner in Sunday’s final at 3pm as he bids to end his weekend to remember with victory in Paris.

The Briton’s phenomenal achievement is exemplified when it is considered that Murray is just the fourth men’s singles number one since February 2004 – highlighting the dominance of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal over the last 12 years.

Since computerised rankings began in 1973, the Scot is the 26th male singles player to become number one and notably the first Briton to do so.

The last male British singles world number one was Fred Perry who topped the charts on a number of occasions during the 1930s.

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The opportunity to become world number one surprisingly presented itself on Friday evening when Djokovic was eliminated from the tournament he won last year against Murray.

The Serb, 29, needed to reach the final to ensure his title would remain with him in the French capital but he was undone 6-4 7-6 (7-2) by Marin Cilic.

Murray’s cementing of top spot brings an end to Djokovic’s 122-week stay at the top and is no more than the Briton deserves after reaching 11 finals from the last 12 events.

The latest rankings are released on Monday and should Murray lose to Isner in Sunday’s Paris Masters final, he will be world number one by just five points heading into London’s ATP Tour finals November 13-18.

2016 is a year to remember for Murray

  • November 2015: Helps Great Britain win the Davis Cup team event for the first time
  • December 2015: Voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the second time
  • February 2016: Welcomes first child as wife Kim gives birth to daughter Sophia
  • June 2016: Becomes Wimbledon champion for the second time after a comprehensive victory over Canadian Milos Raonic
  • August 2016: Defends his Olympic singles title in Rio with victory over Argentine Juan Martin del Potro
  • November 2016: Replaces Serb Novak Djokovic as world number one after reaching the final of the Paris Masters

Having been number two just over seven years, Murray’s stint as the accomplice to proceedings is a record.

Murray can now, similarly to his brother Jamie, officially call himself the best men’s singles player on the planet after his brother became world number one in the doubles side of the game.

What will stagger many who watch the game most is the amount of ground Murray has made up since the French Open in June.

The Olympic champion was 8,000 ranking points behind Djokovic which is a gargantuan distance between the top two ranked players.

If Murray is successful on Sunday in Paris he will be the first Briton to win the title since 2003 when Tim Henman overcame Romanian Andrei Pavel 6-2 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-2).

By Nathan Salt

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