After a period of uncertainty, Andy Murray has put aside his reservations and used his protected ranking to enter Great Britain into January’s ATP Cup – the new team competition that offers a prize fund of $15m.
Murray was uncomfortable about potentially elbowing other singles players – notably Kyle Edmund, Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie – out of the team when he is still working his way back to a competitive fitness level.
But as we approached Friday's cut-off, it became clear that there was a strong chance of Great Britain not participating at all if Murray did not act.
This would have been embarrassing for the Lawn Tennis Association and disappointing for the organisers, especially as there are so many British expatriates in Australia. The event will be staged across three cities – Perth, Brisbane and Sydney – in the build-up to the Australian Open in Melbourne a week later.
Great Britain’s absence would also have left the other likely participants in the team – the aforementioned singles players plus Murray’s doubles-specialist brother Jamie – out of pocket. They could have entered the simultaneous ATP event in Doha, but that would have struggled to match the sums on offer in Australia.
Murray’s appearance fee will be $250,000, while the other members will receive between $60,000 and $20,000 for showing up, with each individual win counting for extra prize money on top of that.
Speaking on Thursday at an event organised by TRR Nutrition, Murray said that he was in favour of the ATP Cup concept but queried the timing, which leaves the new event hard on the heels of the new-look Davis Cup in Madrid this November. “I’m very pro team competitions in tennis,” Murraty explained. “I just don’t like the week that it’s in, never have done, and I just don’t like that there’s two team competitions six weeks apart either. It just doesn’t make sense."