LONDON (Reuters) - Andy Murray may not have enjoyed a successful season by his high standards but after booking his spot at the ATP World Tour Finals on Thursday, the two-time grand slam winner ensured 2014 is far from a “bad year”.
Murray, who has won three tournaments over the past month, crushed Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 6-3 at the Paris Masters to reach the quarter-finals of the competition and guarantee himself a place in the season-ending event in London.
Murray, who failed to defend his Wimbledon crown this year after being dumped out in the quarter-finals by Dimitrov, outclassed the Bulgarian and looked to be back to his best, at one stage winning 21 out of 24 points to move 3-0 up in the second set.
After his comfortable 69-minute victory, Murray signed a camera lens with a message that said “Bad year!” in reference to suggestions that the 27-year-old has not been at his best in 2014.
”It wasn’t a jibe, it’s a bit of fun,“ Murray told reporters. ”If people are going to ask me all the time why I’ve had such a poor year by my standards, then you’re allowed sometimes to say something in response to that.
“I don’t tend to do that often, but look it’s been a hard year, a tough year, but it hasn’t been a bad year.”
Murray, who missed last season’s London showpiece event after undergoing back surgery, admitted his recovery from injury has been difficult, but said he is pleased with how the year has gone.
”It could have been a lot worse,“ he said. ”Coming back from a surgery is not easy at all and I learned that.
”The first few months of this year were very difficult, and I had to dig deep at the end of this year in some ways to salvage the year.
“It’s been a good year. Not my best year, but I would’ve signed up for being in this position when I had the surgery last year, I think.”
Murray will join Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic at London’s O2, with David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori currently in possession of the other three qualifying spots.
“It’s a great event to be involved in,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s a fun way to finish the year. It’s in London and they put a great event there -- a packed house every day you play.”
Reporting By Michael Hann; editing by Toby Davis