ANDY Murray has condemned the men's schedule for next year as "ridiculous" and said that players might demand changes to it when they meet in Shanghai at next month's Masters Series tournament.
Murray was speaking after helping Britain complete a 5-0 Davis Cup victory over Hungary in Glasgow, a result that will see them promoted back to Europe/Africa Zone Group One next year. The world No 4 has played in Britain's last two ties, but the calendar changes next year to accommodate the Olympic tournament and the Davis Cup dates could be especially difficult for the top players.
Britain face a first-round match from 10-12 February 2012 - they will know their opponents after the draw on Wednesday - and could then play again from 6-8 April. The first date is just 12 days after the Australian Open final and the second comes between the end of the Miami Masters and the start of the European outdoor season, when Murray is usually keen to get in as much clay-court practice as possible.
Murray said the February date meant he was having to reconsider negotiations to play in a tournament in Marseilles, for which he would command a sizeable appearance fee. The April date could be even more problematic. "The clay-court stretch is quite a tough and long one," Murray said. "It's a time for me when I need time to adjust to that surface. It's not a surface that comes naturally to me." Commenting on the schedule, he added: "It makes me speechless. It's ridiculous. They need to change it."
The recent protests - led by Murray and Rafael Nadal - over the scheduling of matches at the US Open has led to renewed calls for the players to form their own union. The players will discuss their grievances in Shanghai. Asked whether he expected to play in the Davis Cup next year, Murray said: "I'll need to have a look at my schedule and see exactly what's going on, which tournaments I'm going to play. What happens in Shanghai - what the players decide to do - might also be quite significant. Maybe things will get done if all the players get together and say what they want exactly."
With the tie having already been won, Murray did not need to play in yesterday's dead rubbers but thought it "the right thing to do". After beating Gyorgy Balazs 7-6, 6-3 with a laboured performance - Colin Fleming went on to complete the whitewash by beating Sebo Kiss 6-4, 6-3 - Murray admitted: "I'm tired and my body's hurting. I wanted to try to play, but the reality was that when I got out there I didn't feel great."
Argentina will meet Spain in the Davis Cup final after both countries won their World Group semi-finals. Argentina secured victory over Serbia in Belgrade after an exhausted Novak Djokovic retired with a rib and back injury in the second set against Juan Martin del Potro, having lost the first. It was only his third defeat this year. Spain booked their final place when Nadal beat France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.
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