Murray fights to keep season alive – then plans rare holiday


O2 Arena

Andy Murray is hoping not to start thinking about holiday plans until the end of Monday night's final here at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals but the Scot will be taking his first break for two years after the season-ending finale. Murray, who meets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga tonight in his concluding round-robin match as he attempts to qualify for Sunday's semi-finals, is changing his off-season plans this year to incorporate both a holiday and Christmas at home.

Last year Murray trained in Miami in December and then went straight to Brisbane at the start of January to play his only warm-up tournament before the Australian Open. This year he will take a holiday, go to Miami to train, return home for Christmas and then leave on Boxing Day for Abu Dhabi, where he is playing in an exhibition event, before heading for Brisbane and then Melbourne.

Murray said he and his girlfriend, Kim Sears, would take a holiday somewhere within easy reach because he does enough travelling in the rest of the year. Wherever it is, he will not be spending all day sunbathing.

"I'm happy to do that for a couple of days but after that I try and do some stuff," he said. "If you just lie around your body stiffens up when you start practising again. It takes time to get back into it and your body hurts quite a lot as well after you take a week off doing absolutely nothing."

Tonight Murray will need to devote all his energies to trying to qualify for the semi-finals here. The official version of the possible outcomes of today's concluding Group A matches contains 10 possible scenarios in terms of which two players will go through to the last four.

The advantage for Murray, who has one win from his first two round-robin matches, is that he will know exactly what he needs to do against Tsonga once the afternoon match between Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych is over.

At the moment any two players could qualify and Murray's possibilities range from losing to Tsonga and still qualifying, to beating him and not qualifying. The one certainty at this stage is that a straight-sets win against an opponent he has beaten six times out of seven would guarantee his qualification.

"You should be able to just play the match and try to win without thinking about any of the other stuff that goes with it," Murray said when asked whether the qualification system was distracting. "I've won two matches here before and qualified but I've also won two matches and not qualified.

"The only way to guarantee is by winning three matches or by winning your first two matches in straight sets. It's not easy to win matches comfortably here because you're playing against the best players on a quick surface. It often happens, because of the way they schedule the matches, you always come down to the last day and who's going to qualify. These scenarios happen all the time."

Leon Smith, Britain's Davis Cup captain, sees Murray as the clear favourite to beat Tsonga tonight. "It's a good match-up for Andy," he said. "Tsonga has a great serve, but Andy is a great returner so he negates that. Once they get into the points situation, Andy is very, very good at exploiting those areas that Jo could be weak in."

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower