Andy MURRAY will decide today whether he is able to continue in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after being hampered by a groin injury in an opening defeat by David Ferrer yesterday.
The world number three picked up the problem in his left leg during practice last week and admitted that, had the tournament been a less prestigious one, he would not have taken to the court at all.
Murray looked uncomfortable throughout the 6-4 7-5 loss at London’s O2 Arena, his first defeat by Ferrer on hard courts, and received treatment in between sets. A downbeat Murray said afterwards: “I’ll decide tomorrow whether or not I keep playing.
“You’ve got to sometimes do the right thing. I didn’t know exactly how it was going to feel on the court. I haven’t been able to do too much training this week. I played, I didn’t feel particularly great. I’ll see if I feel any better tomorrow.”
Injury aside, it was still a disappointing performance from Murray, who has been in such great form this autumn, winning back-to-back titles in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai last month.
The Scot squandered an early break in the first set and was twice ahead in the second but a tally of 44 unforced errors and a first-serve percentage well shy of 50 per cent led to his demise.
Injury concerns are nothing new for Murray, of course, and pulling out of tournaments has always been a last resort – “gutting” was the way he described the prospect here.
The 24-year-old has only retired during a match once, when he snapped a tendon in his wrist in Hamburg in 2007, while the last time he withdrew midway through an event was in Dubai nearly three years ago.
The round-robin format means Murray still has a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals but to do that he is likely to have to beat world number one Novak Djokovic, pictured left, and in-form Czech Tomas Berdych, while his failure to win a set is also a handicap.
His second scheduled match tomorrow is against Berdych, who had Djokovic on the rack in a classic encounter last night but could not put him away.
Berdych raced into a 4-0 lead and held off a fightback from the top seed to take the opening set, and in the decider he squandered a break and then missed a match point before Djokovic finally came through 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).
The world number one knew he had got lucky, and he said: “I wasn’t very satisfied with my performance. I know I wasn’t playing on top of my game. But a win is a win in the end.”
Today’s action features the second matches in Group B, with Mardy Fish and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga both looking for their first win in the opener, while the evening contest will pit Roger Federer against Rafael Nadal for a 26th time.