Cape Town - Roger Federer has congratulated Andy Murray on toppling Novak Djokovic in 2016 and becoming the new World No 1.
Few could have predicted that Murray would be able to outperform the top-ranked Serb, so dominant had he been in previous seasons - and in the first half of this one - but the Scot managed to do just that by winning Wimbledon and defeating Djokovic at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals to ensure he would finish the year as the world's best player.
Federer has been stuck on the sidelines for most of the year with injury, but has clearly kept an eye on proceedings, saluting Murray for his remarkable achievements.
"I was very surprised just because when a guy starts a season the way Novak does, achieves his dream by winning the French and his fourth Slam in a row, of course there’s no way in the world that anybody, even the players, start thinking another guy could actually finish No. 1," he told the New York Times.
"Novak, let’s be honest, actually didn’t play too bad in the second half. He won Toronto. He played finals in many other tournaments: US Open, the World Tour Finals.
"You would think that was going to be enough, but what it required was something extraordinary, and Murray was able to deliver that, and that’s where I take my hat off."
As for why Djokovic dropped off in the latter half of the season after winning the French Open and completing the career Grand Slam, Federer said: "Maybe it’s only human and understandable that Novak had a letdown, because he achieved everything he wanted to.
"You have to maybe reinvent yourself or whatever you have to do. But it’s nice to see that maybe it doesn’t always come so easy for everybody for so long."