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Murray prepares push to world rankings summit

ANDY Murray has climbed to the giddy heights of number two in the ATP world rankings, but the Briton may discover that, like Mount Everest, the final push to the summit can end in disappointment.

While 24 have held the number one spot since rankings began in 1973, 11 have fallen just short of the mark, including some hallowed names in the game.

Among the nearly-theres are grand slam winners Guillermo Vilas of Argentina and Americans Arthur Ashe and Michael Chang. Croatian Goran Ivanisevic and Czech Petr Korda are also in the runners-up club.

If Murray needs any more reminding, he need look no further than his own camp.

Alex Corretja, a member of the Scotsman's coaching staff, held the second ranking in 1999 but could not reel in 14-time grand slam champion Pete Sampras.

"I was fighting so hard to reach number one and I couldn't," Corretja told Reuters. "I tried my best but probably I wasn't good enough to be number one.

"The big difference between Andy and me, he's number two but he still has a lot of room to improve, so that means that hopefully he will get to number one one day.

"But there is no rush, he needs to keep doing what he is doing, improving his game step-by-step."

Roger Federer, whose record run of 237 weeks at the top of the heap was ended by great rival Rafael Nadal a year ago, snatched back the top ranking from the injury-hobbled Spaniard after taking his record 15th grand slam title at Wimbledon last month.

Murray has enjoyed a Federer-esque season, reaching six finals and winning five of them, but a grand slam crown and the bounty of points that comes with it has thusfar eluded him.

With 11,040 points in the bank, Federer will head to the U.S. Open as the top-ranked player, but Murray, charging from behind on 9,205, may have the Swiss master looking over his shoulder.

The Scotsman will travel to the next Masters Series event in Cincinnati this week where he will be confirmed as the new number two on Monday.

The rankings will see Murray holding a comfortable 585-point advantage over Nadal and barring a total collapse in Cincinnati, he should carry the number two spot to the U.S. Open.

"I wanted to get matches this week, that was important," Murray said. "Obviously to win the tournament is great.

"The U.S. Open is still a couple weeks away and I'll focus on Cincinnati.

"I've done enough to justify being two and getting closer to hopefully one day becoming number one is one of my goals.


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