Andy Murray kicks off attempts to overhaul Novak Djokovic and become world number one for the first time when he faces Fernando Verdasco in the second round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday [2 November].
Where to Watch Live
Verdasco vs Murray is scheduled to start not before 6:30pm GMT [7:30pm local time]. Live coverage is on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD and can be watched online via Sky Go . Tennis TV also provide live coverage of the match. Live scores and regular updates are available on the ATP's official website.
Andy Murray begins his bid to become the first British world number one when he takes on Fernando Verdasco in the second round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday [2 November]. The Wimbledon and Olympic champion must win the tournament in the French capital or reach the final to stand any chance of displacing Novak Djokovic atop the ATP standings.
A maiden victory for Murray at the final Masters Series 1000 event of the season, coupled with Djokovic's failure to progress beyond the semi-final will be enough for the 29-year-old to end the Serbian's 122 straight weeks at the summit of the men's game. Murray will also start the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals as the world number if he reaches the final in Paris and Djokovic falters before the last four.
Victories at the China Open, the Shanghai Masters and the Vienna Open, along with Djokovic's loss of form since winning the French Open has seen Murray close the gap to the 11-time grand slam champion to just 415 points. However, Murray has never won the closing Masters tournament of the year and lost to Djokovic in his only appearance in the final last year.
"It's not in my control. Even if I win all of my matches this week, I still might not get there. It's in Novak's hands. He's ahead now, so if he wins his matches and gets to the latter stages of the last two tournaments, then he'll most likely keep the No. 1 spot," said Murray. "I don't feel any differently now to how I did six, eight weeks ago. My goal wasn't to finish No. 1 at the end of this year. I wanted to finish this year as strong as possible, and I think there is a lot stronger chance of doing it in the early part of next year, which is what I targeted rather than this week."
The first of potentially five matches on Murray's route to history comes against a man who has previously toppled him in a grand slam in Spaniard Verdasco. The 32-year-old took five sets to beat the three-time major champion at the 2009 Australian Open – his only top tier victory over Murray in 12 meetings.
Murray has even won the pair's only two clashes in Paris at the French Open in 2014 and then at the Masters event in 2008; each victory coming in straight sets. Verdasco though will hope to expose any weariness in Murray's legs, and having prevailed in round one after Robin Hasse retired through injury after completing just one set, the three-time Davis Cup winner will be optimistic over his chances.
Three successive tournament victories has seen Murray rack up 15 consecutive victory in matches played across 26 days in a gruelling end to the campaign. Already having claimed a career-best seven titles in 2016, an unprecedented eighth would underline his status as the dominant player on the planet.
Betting odds (source Betfair):
Fernando Verdasco 13/1 vs 1/14 Andy Murray
Head-to-head record: Verdasco 1-11 Murray. Last match Queen's Club round of 16 (grass) Murray bt Verdasco 7-5 6-4
Previous meetings at the BNP Paribas Masters: Verdasco 0-1 Djokovic. Last match Murray bt Verdasco 6-3 7-6