He plays David Ferrer in his first round robin match on Monday, with Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal making up the rest of his group. The world No1, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer are in the other group, which is completed by Tomas Berdych and Kei Nishikori.
“I’ve been practising on clay this week with the Davis Cup in mind and I feel fresh, feel good,” Murray confirmed, after four days on the indoor clay at Queen’s Club with Aljaz Bedene, whose appeal to be considered for the Great Britain Davis Cup team goes before the International Tennis Federation’s AGM in Prague next week, when Leon Smith, the Davis Cup captain, announces his team to play Belgium in the final in Ghent, starting on 28 November.
The timing of all these developments – Murray moving from the hardcourt of the O2 Arena to the drop-in clay of Ghent, and Bedene’s appeal – has added a hint of intrigue to the end of the season.
However, there is no doubting that, while Murray has long prioritised the Davis Cup – which Great Britain has not won since 1936 – he is incapable of giving less than 100% in the ATP’s season-ending finale in London.
News that the event will continue to run at the O2 until 2018 makes perfect commercial sense, given the tournament attracts sell-out day and night audiences of 20,000 fans for the entire week. Barclays, however, will sponsor the tournament for only one more year.
Djokovic will start as the favourite here, a runaway leader in the ATP World Tour rankings, and he is in fine form. “It’s been a long season but it’s good to be here,” he said at the draw at City Hall. “I have had by far the most successful season of my career.”
Federer, a marvel at 34 and conqueror of Nadal in the Basel final, said in reference to his shock withdrawal through injury from the 2014 final after annihilating Murray for the loss of one game in the semis: “I hope I can be healthy for the finals this year.”
This article was written by Kevin Mitchell, for theguardian.com on Thursday 12th November 2015 22.32 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010