Sports Personality of the Year: Andy Murray will not attend ceremony, despite being favourite to lift award

The Scot is expected to win the prize, which is voted for by the public

Despite being the favourite for the award, Andy Murray has decided he will not attend the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony in Leeds on Sunday.

The Wimbledon winner is expected to win the prestigious award in recognition of his victory over Novak Djokovic in the final at the All England Club during the summer - a victory that ended a 77-year wait for a British winner of the men's tournament.

It is understood Murray thought hard about returning from his training base in Miami, but ultimately decided it would interupt his preperations for 2014 too much.

The 26-year-old is still working his way back to full fitness following back surgery in September and will train every day up to and including Christmas Day before flying to Abu Dhabi, where he is due to begin his season on Boxing Day with a match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Check out the 10 contenders for the Sports Personality of the Year award

Murray does not want his decision to be seen as a snub to the award or the BBC, who he writes a column for during Wimbledon and with whom he collaborated on a documentary ahead of this year's Championships.

The Scot will link up with the show live by video from Miami, as he did last year, when he was presented with the third-placed trophy by boxer Lennox Lewis.

Murray only began playing points in practice last week and, although his recovery is said to be broadly on track, he feels he still has a lot of work to do.

He is renowned as one of the tour's hardest trainers and knowing he has done everything possible to prepare himself for big events is central to his approach.

After the exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, which also features Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Murray will return to the ATP Tour in Doha the following week.

The world number four has not yet confirmed his participation at the Australian Open but his desire to be in the best shape possible for the first grand slam of the season is the main reason behind his decision not to fly back to the UK.

Murray underwent what was described as a minor surgical procedure on September 23 having struggled with the back problem on and off for 18 months.

He opted to miss this year's French Open before returning for the grass-court season, winning the titles at Queen's Club and Wimbledon.

A BBC spokesperson said of Murray's absence: "We are of course disappointed that Andy Murray cannot be in Leeds in person but are very much looking forward to him joining us live on the night via link-up.

"We're looking forward to a fantastic night celebrating the 60th Sports Personality, with many former winners and some of the world's biggest sport starts attending."

Last month, Murray was named on the 10-strong shortlist alongside Sir Ben Ainslie, Ian Bell, Hannah Cockroft, Mo Farah, Chris Froome, Leigh Halfpenny, Tony McCoy, Christine Ohuruogu and Justin Rose.

Murray won his first award at the BBC ceremony in 2004 when he was named Young Sports Personality of the Year following his victory in the boys' singles at the US Open.

The Scot did attend on that occasion, although he almost missed the show after getting locked in his hotel bathroom.

 

Check out the 10 contenders for the Sports Personality of the Year award

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