Andy Murray is ready to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Finals in London for the second time in three years in order to give himself extra preparation for Great Britain’s first Davis Cup final for 79 years against Belgium.
Their opposition in the final will be Belgium, who came back from 2-1 down to Argentina overnight to take their semi-final tie 3-2 in Brussels.
Belgium are the 19/10 underdogs despite having home advantage and the choice of surface and Murray is wary of the threat they pose, especially David Goffin.
“All players who qualify, unless injured, are required to compete in the event”, said the ATP chief executive Chris Kermode, who happens to be an old ally of Murray’s, in a statement yesterday.
“The O2 would obviously be a question mark for me if we were playing on the clay”, Murray, a two-time World Tour Finals semi-finalist, told BBC Radio 5.
Balancing Davis Cup commitments with the ATP World Tour Finals hindered Roger Federer a year ago.
“It’s not really something that’s spoken about, but we are all definitely aware of the history that he has playing Davis Cup for Australia”.
Asked last night how he felt about the singles, his first recourse was to sarcasm: “I’ll let Dominic Inglot [the back-up doubles player] play the singles, we’ll see how that goes”.
After the win, Andy Murray said, “Winning for your country and your team-mates means such a lot”.
Team GB had already gone further in the tournament than at any time since 1981, and was now aiming to reach its 20th final and its first since 1978.
The ITF are expected to rubber-stamp the Flanders Expo Arena in Ghent as the venue for the clash with Belgium today, giving the hosts just under two weeks to decide what surface court to install in the 13,000-seater arena.
The world number three revealed after the 3-2 triumph that he had been struggling with a back injury throughout the weekend but few would have guessed given the way he dealt with Bernard Tomic on Sunday.
And Murray has made clear that the Davis Cup is his highest priority.
It is worth noting that Jamie Murray is not the same threat on clay courts either – while he and regular doubles partner John Peers reached the final at Wimbledon and the US Open, they were dumped out in the third round at Roland Garros.
They won 5-0 and advanced from Europe/Africa Group II the following year before getting back into the World Group at the end of 2013 when Murray returned to help secure play-off victory over Croatia. It feels great. It’s fantastic to win my fourth WTA title.
As against France in the quarter-finals the brothers started slowly, sometimes not quite sure of where each other were, and it was also apparent that something was bothering the world number three with his back.