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Andy Murray should defy ATP orders and skip the World Tour Finals

23 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Andy Murray should defy ATP orders and skip the World Tour Finals

Leading Great Britain to Davis Cup victory for the first time in 79 years would be one of his greatest feats - he has earned the right to be selfish

The intimation that he might skip the ATP World Tour Finals in order to focus on the Davis Cup was made shortly after an exhausted Andy Murray had carried Great Britain into their first final since 1976.

It was not an irrational or reactionary one, though.

Typical of Murray, one of tennis’ smartest thinkers both on and off the court, it was simply proactive and pragmatic.

Even if competing on the same indoor hard-court surface used at the O2, it would not be feasible for him to face any of the world’s best seven players and still be in prime condition to play three successive best-of-five-set matches in Belgium five days later.

Confirmation that the final of the international team event will be, as expected, played on indoor clay – at the 13,000-capacity Flanders Expo Centre in Ghent – is likely to make his decision even simpler, then.

Murray should skip the event in London – where he could claim up to 1,500 ranking points and £1m in prize money – and instead embark on a thorough training block on the red dirt.

That would enable his game and body – which requires careful management after back surgery two years ago – to sufficiently adapt to the very different demands of the surface.

4/11 – Great Britain to win the Davis Cup

It is no surprise that ATP chairman Chris Kermode has publicly clarified that participation in the World Tour Finals is mandatory for the eight qualifiers.

The tour, of course, benefits commercially from Murray being in action in his native UK.

That home interest was part of the reason the staging of the event in England’s capital city was extended for another two years in June.

Intriguingly given the circumstances, Murray was the man who Kermode called last year when Roger Federer withdrew from the final of the tournament against Novak Djokovic because of a back injury.

The Scot was playing the video game Mario Kart at the time, but put down his controller, threw on his kit and headed to the arena to play a one-set exhibition against the Serb.

This time around, though, he owes Kermode – or the tour – nothing.

The additional ranking points would, of course, be nice, especially with the Australian Open taking place in January.

But Federer and Djokovic are better players indoors, so a semi-final berth – which would still entail four matches and a Saturday finish – is realistically the world No. 3’s most likely result.

16/1 – Great Britain to win all five Davis Cup final matches

So what else is there to consider?

It is not like he needs the money, while the threat of a fine is unlikely to dissuade a headstrong individual such as Murray from doing what he thinks is right.

The reason Federer withdrew last year is because he himself had the opportunity to win the Davis Cup with Switzerland.

As one of the few remaining honours in the sport he had not claimed, the 17-time Grand Slam winner was not prepared to risk his fitness.

Federer lost his opening singles match against France’s Gael Monfils, but was able to share the burden with fellow major winner Stan Wawrinka to help his country win the tie.

Murray does not have that luxury.

As in the previous rounds against France and Australia, he has to deliver two singles wins and a doubles victory – alongside brother Jamie – if Great Britain are to win their first Davis Cup since 1936.

That is an incredible burden – but one that Murray is capable of carrying if fit, fresh and fully prepared.

Achieving that would legitimately rank alongside his Olympics, US Open and Wimbledon triumphs.

At 28, his success from now on will ultimately determine where he is viewed among the list of tennis greats.

He has earned the right to be selfish.

Missing out on the ATP Tour Finals, therefore, is an unfortunate – but necessary – sacrifice.

8/15 – Andy Murray to win all three Davis Cup final matches

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