Andy Murray has confirmed that he will play the season ending ATP World Tour Finals in London the week before the Davis Cup final weekend in Ghent, Belgium. There were rumors that Murray, world number three, would try and negotiate skipping the final compulsory event for the top eight players, to enable the Brit to concentrate fully on preparations for what is ultimately the biggest event in British team tennis. With the Belgians choosing indoor clay for the Davis Cup final as they had choice of ground, they believe this will give them the advantage.
Murray had hinted at the end of the semifinal in Glasgow that he may miss the event in London, as his back was visibly hurting and with the odds on the Belgians choosing indoor clay, the Brit knew the quick change of surface may not be good for him. Chris Kermode, the event chairman, soon hinted that the Brit could find himself in trouble for skipping the event unless he was actually injured, with penalties given to Murray for missing the event. Many British tennis fans were annoyed by this intervention especially as Murray had saved the day at the same event the previous year when Roger Federer pulled out from the final match against Novak Djokovic, citing back problems before going on to win the Davis Cup with Switzerland barely a week later. Murray gave up his free time and any appearance fee to take part in an exhibition match with Djokovic, before teaming up with John McEnroe to play a doubles match against Pat Cash and Tim Henman.
Preparations For Davis Cup Final
The Brit has however decided that he will take part in the ATP World Tour Finals, after all, he was the second player to qualify. He will also commence his preparations for the Davis Cup final whilst in London by using the clay courts at Queens Club to practice on. This should help Murray in his preparations, although there is still the timing issue of the change of surface to contend with. Depending on how far the Brit progresses at the end of season event (he has yet to reach the final) will depend on how many days will be used and needed to switch surface from hard court to clay.
Clay has never been a favourite surface for Brits, as until this year the last Brit to win a main tour title on the clay was Buster Motram back in 1976, and Murray had never won a clay event on the main tour. However, with Murray winning two titles back to back on clay this year (Munich and Madrid) there is no doubt the Brits clay form has improved dramatically. The Belgians know that clay has never been a favourite surface for the Brits, and are likely to be relying on the world number two being tired after the ATP World Tour Finals, however, this plan may end up backfiring on the Belgian team, just as it did to Jim Courier and the USA team in 2014 round one in San Diego, when clay was picked and the Brits ran away with the singles rubbers and won the tie 3-1.
With Murray playing in London and using the clay courts of Queens to hone his clay game ahead of the final, he should be able to give it his all in the Davis Cup final.