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Andy Murray enters ATP Cup with protected ranking

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 14 Sep 2019
  • Former world No. 1, Andy Murray has entered the 2020 ATP Cup with his protected ranking 
  • ATP Cup is live from Australia from 3-12 January, 2020
Andy Murray (PA Sport)

Andy Murray has used his protected ranking of World No. 2 to enter next year's inaugural ATP Cup, ensuring that Great Britain will participate at the season-opening tournament in Australia.

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The ATP Cup is a new team tournament set to kick-start the 2020 season, featuring 24 countries, and offering 750 ranking points. It will be staged across three Australian cities- Brisbane, Sydney and Perth- between 3-12 January. 

Countries qualify for the ATP Cup based on the ranking of their No. 1 player, with the top 18 players in the world, as at 13 September, gaining entry into the tournament. Australia qualify automatically as the home nation. There are still five more spots to be filled, with the remaining countries to be added based on the rankings of their No. 1 players as at the second entry deadline on 13 November.

British No. 1, Kyle Edmund is currently ranked outside the world's top-18- at 24th- meaning the country would not have qualified had Murray not used his protected ranking.

Murray joins an elite list of players set to compete at the ATP Cup, with every member of the current top-ten, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and 27 of the top-30 all committed to playing the tournament. The draw for the ATP Cup will be conducted at the Sydney Opera House on Monday, 16 September.

Murray, who is continuing his comeback from hip surgery, is also hopeful of being part of Great Britain's squad for the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid in November, but three-time major champion expressed his reservations with having two major team competitions (Davis Cup Finals and ATP Cup) at such close proximity to each other.

"I'm very pro team competitions in tennis, I just don't like the week that it (the ATP Cup) is in. I don't like that there's two team competitions six weeks apart either. It just doesn't make sense," he said.

Neither the Davis Cup nor the ATP Cup existed on Murray's agenda at the start of the year, when he announced at a tearful pre-Australian press conference that he planned to retire at Wimbledon after failing to recover from a hip injury. Murray said at the time that the Australian Open could be his final tournament as he did not trust his hip to hold up until Wimbledon. 

The Scot underwent surgery at the end of January, insisting that the process was to get rid of the pain, and give him a better quality of life, rather than aid a return to tennis. However, following the successful operation, the Scot began hinting at a comeback in March, saying he was pain-free, and he eventually returned in June at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen's, where he won the doubles' title with Feliciano Lopez.

Murray played more doubles in Eastbourne, Wimbledon, Washington and Toronto, before making his singles comeback in Cincinnati. The 32-year-old is 0-2 in singles matches at tour level since his comeback, suffering straight sets defeats to Richard Gasquet and Tennys Sandgren in Cincinnati and Winston-Salem respectively, but he reached the third at a Challenger event in Mallorca, beating Imran Sibille and Norbert Gombos before falling to Italian, Matteo Viola in a final set tie break.

Murray is next scheduled to compete in Zhuhai, starting on 23 September, while he will also play Beijing and Shanghai before returning to Europe for the European Open in Antwerp.

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Andy Murray enters ATP Cup with protected ranking

Former world No. 1, Andy Murray has entered the 2020 ATP Cup with his protected ranking, ensuring that Great Britain will participate in the season-opening tournament

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