LONDON • Andy Murray has been warned that he could be fined and banned from competing among the top flight of men's tennis next year, if he skips the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena to prepare for the Davis Cup final which takes place the week after.
The ATP World Tour's leading officials, and Barclays, the sponsor of the London event since 2009, were believed to be extremely concerned after hearing the Briton's comments about potentially pulling out of the tournament in November.
For Murray, the financial consequences would be stringent. If he maintains his position as the world No. 3, he could lose a £568,000 (S$1.25 million) share from the ATP bonus pool. However, if he manages to nudge out second-ranked Roger Federer, this figure would rise to £916,000.
The 28-year-old would forfeit the £100,000 he would gain for simply walking out on court and a similar figure for each round-robin group victory. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, last year's champion, left London with about £1.4 million.
Potentially of more concern to Murray is that he would be deemed to be "not in good standing with the ATP" and according to the men's tour rule book, not eligible to compete as a main-draw entry in any leading event the following year.
Chris Kermode, ATP executive chairman and president, felt the need to remind Murray's representatives of the rules and issued a statement through the ATP World Tour on Monday, emphasising: "All players who qualify, unless injured, are required to compete in the event."
The International Tennis Federation is not pressing for a decision on the playing surface in Ghent, Belgium until next week, but Murray pre-empted all concerned by telling the BBC: "The O2 would obviously be a question mark for me if we were playing on the clay. I would go and train and prepare on the clay to get ready for the final."
He is concerned that if he reached the weekend knockout phase of the ATP World Tour Finals, played on hard courts, he would have only four days to acclimatise to clay before Britain's first Davis Cup final in 37 years.
THE TIMES, LONDON