There was mixed news for Andy Murray when he helped to make the draw for next week's Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai yesterday. The bad news was that the 21-year-old Scot is in the same four-man group as Roger Federer for the round-robin stage of the season-ending tournament. The good news is that he could still qualify for the semi-finals even if he loses to the No 1 seed – and if he did so could only meet him again in the final.
Murray and Federer are in a group with Andy Roddick and Gilles Simon. The other section comprises Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro, of Argentina. After three matches each in the round-robin stage, the top two in both groups progress to the semi-finals.
Although Federer beat Murray in the US Open final two months ago, the Scot quickly earned revenge, overcoming the Swiss on his way to the Madrid Masters title, his third win in his five matches against the former Wimbledon champion. Murray has won four of his six matches against Roddick and has beaten Simon in both their meetings this year.
Meanwhile Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of Shanghai with a knee injury, will decide early next week whether he can play in the Davis Cup final against Argentina starting in 15 day' time. "I will try everything to be at the Davis Cup, but my participation depends on my progress," the world No 1 said. "If I am only at 40 per cent I won't go."
"I have mentioned on various occasions that the tennis calendar has been extremely hard with practically all weeks playing and where it forces players to compete week in week out, making it impossible for a top-level player to be 100 percent on each event," Nadal added.