Murray shrugs off fatigue to make a challenge in Mons

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The Independent Online

Murray, whose progress at the Thailand Open elevated his ranking to No 72, is the seventh seed in Mons. He won two Challenger tournaments in the United States in the summer, which also helped raise his status.

Having worked so hard in Bangkok, Murray would have preferred to have taken a week off. But, having committed himself to the event in Mons several weeks ago, he is obliged to go there, even though victories there will not make an appreciable difference to his world ranking.

Should he overcome Heuberger, the 18-year-old Murray would be likely to face Xavier Malisse, one of Belgium's finest players, in the quarter-finals.

Murray's longer term plans include trying to qualify for the Madrid Masters later this month. He may also try to qualify for Basle, and the Paris Masters. For the moment, however, he must concentrate on an indoor court in Flanders.

Tim Henman, the British No 1, voiced his approval yesterday of the teenager's rise to worldwide attention.

"It was obviously a fantastic week for Andy reaching his first ATP final," Henman said. "It's always easy to say that if he'd played a bit better then he might have won. However, one of Roger's great strengths is his ability to play well enough to get the job done, irrespective of who he's playing. There's no doubt he's beatable but it was always going to be a big ask for Andy to do it under the circumstances, but I'm sure he'll take a lot of positives from his performance, particularly in the second set - and rightly so."

Meanwhile, the International Tennis Federation has moved to tighten up the system of drug-testing in the men's game by relieving the ATP of its duties and taking procedures in-house.

The ITF will conduct all doping controls, in and out of competition, whereas previously it had allowed the men's tour to self-regulate. Beginning next January and running to 2010, the agreement will see the ITF administer and enforce its anti-doping programme at all tournaments on the ATP and Challenger tours.

The ITF is fully compliant with the code of the World Anti-Doping Agency, of which its president, Francesco Ricci Bitti, is a board member. In the event of a punishment being handed down by the ITF, the ATP will be obliged to support the sanctions.

Ricci Bitti said: "The ITF has been in discussions with the ATP for an extended period about the best way to manage the anti-doping programme for the future.

"While we have worked together successfully in the past, it became evident that the programme would work more efficiently and effectively if it was centralised under one authority." The ITF is already responsible for testing at grand slam, Davis Cup and Fed Cup events.

The ITF is also keen to work on a similar basis with the WTA Tour, who run women's tennis.

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