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Andy Murray withdrawn from Battle of the Brits tournament, believes ATP revised schedule not safe

Former world number one and 3-time grand slam champion Andy Murray decided to withdraw from his third-place playoff match against Cameron Norrie in the Battle of the Brits exhibition tournament, and has been replaced by James Ward to take place.

Murray played four matches within five days, beating Liam Broady and James Ward, putting him into the semifinals where he lost to Dan Evans on Saturday.

With Ward taking Murray’s place in the playoff match, eventually lost 6-3, 7-5 to Norrie.

British number one Dan Evans won the competition with a convincing 6-3 6-2 victory in the final over Kyle Edmund.

“It has been a long week and a great week,” Evans said. “All the players have loved it — that’s the truth. Everyone has been raving about the tournament.

“It was pretty much like a Tour event this week. I didn’t think it would be this big but it turned out really well.”

Murray, who haven’t played since the Davis Cup in November, expressed satisfaction upon his performance after losing to Evans.

“I’ve just not been able to sustain a high level for long enough,” said Murray.

“My game is there, I just need more time to practice and prepare and I’ll get there.”

“Some of the tennis this week has been very encouraging. I just wasn’t able to do it for long enough in the matches.”

Murray is unlikely to play again before the Citi Open on August 14 as he prepares for the tennis US Open, which is to be played behind closed doors as tennis makes a tentative return following the coronavirus-enforced suspension of the ATP & WTA tours.

Murray told last Saturday that the ATP’s revised calendar is not safe to proceed for players, who will be forced to skip major events due to the jammed schedule.

“It is not possible and it is not safe, in my opinion, to play the final or even the semi-finals or quarter-finals in New York and then you are playing on Tuesday in Madrid at altitude on a clay court when players haven’t played in a long time,” he said.

“A lot of the top players are not going to be competing in many of the biggest events.”

The three-time grand slam champion also said the ATP should consider changing the rankings system for a period after the disruption on schedule caused by COVID-19.

“It might be worth looking at a two-year ranking for the time being maybe so that guys who have done well last year and are sort of not really able to defend their points properly aren’t kind of punished,” Murray said.

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