Andy Murray prioritising ATP World Tour Finals

 

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray is so determined to maintain his current run of success through to the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London that he is preparing to change his plans for the off-season and opening weeks of 2012.

The 24-year-old Scot, who faces Stanislas Wawrinka in the last 16 of the Shanghai Rolex Masters here tomorrow after his second-round opponent, Dmitry Tursunov, withdrew today with a thigh injury, has won his last two tournaments. Although he may play in Valencia or Basle at the end of this month, his main targets now are the Paris Masters and the end-of-year finale at the O2 Arena.

In the expectation of a busy finish to the season, Murray has decided not to play in the Hopman Cup in the first week of January, despite the fact that for the last two years the mixed team event in Perth was the launch pad for his runs to the final of the Australian Open. He may now make later starts both to his off-season training camp in Miami in December and to the new season, when he would have the option of taking a wild card into one of the pre-Australian Open tournaments or playing in an exhibition in the week before the year's opening Grand Slam event.

In the meantime Murray said that next month's Paris tournament was one he would particularly like to win as it is the only Masters Series competition on hard courts where he has not reached the final. The world No 4 would also love to do well on home soil in the finals at London's O2 Arena. He is perhaps mindful of the fact that Novak Djokovic traced his extraordinary triumphs this year back to his successes at the end of 2010.

Victory here this weekend would see Murray overtake Roger Federer as world No 3. Although he had prepared to play today, Murray said that Tursunov's late withdrawal would give him a chance to rest his sore arm after playing nine matches in two weeks en route to victories in Bangkok and Tokyo.

Murray said his arm had also been affected by the change of balls from one week to the next. Rafael Nadal, who beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-2 in his opening match, agreed with Murray. "The balls here are completely different," Nadal said. "Something must change because it is too dangerous for the shoulders. For us it's a big change. Tournaments straight after one another must use the same ball."

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