Andy Murray makes a big statement of intent as he confirms his first tournament of 2021

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Andy Murray looking strong at Shanghai Masters

Andy Murray has signalled his intent to play plemty of tennis in 2021 by confirming he will make his debut in the ATP Tour 250 event at Delray Beach in the first week of January.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Murray was in impressive form as he beat Dan Evans and Cam Norrie at last week’s Battle of the Brits event in London and now he is preparing to make his return to the ATP tour.

The tournament takes place from January 7-13, after being moved from its traditional February slot and is now being used as a warm-up event for the Australian Open, with the first Grand Slam of 2021 moved to February due to COVID-19 health and safety measures.

Murray’s decision to fly to America at the start of 2021 instead of remaining in the UK to prepare for the Australian Open confirms he wants to get as much court time as possible as he looks to silence his doubters and make a return to the top of the game.

Former British No.1 Tim Henman believes it is too soon to write Murray off, as he told Tennis365 that the Scot is determined to shine in the new year.

Murray’s limp performance as he lost to Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the French Open in September sparked suggestions that his career is coming to an end, but Henman offered an alternative view in an exclusive interview with Tennis365.

“I think you have just got to look at that one match in complete isolation,” Henman told us. “He hasn’t played on clay for such a long time, the worst possible conditions for Andy’s type of game and probably the best for Stan.

“Add to that Andy didn’t play well. So, it was disappointing for Andy to lose and only win six games but I don’t read any more into it than that. Only six weeks ago, he beat [Alexander] Zverev in Cincinnati, he had an amazing comeback at the US Open.

“I still think he is very much on the comeback journey – he has played so little tennis. I, for one, won’t be jumping into any conclusions. Will his hasten any decision over his future?  No I don’t.

“Coming back to play professional tennis with a metal hip, he is an inspiration to a whole new group of people. I totally support that.

“I also think that Andy has been incredibly honest with himself and is probably his own harshest critic, so he’ll know when the time is right and he wouldn’t want to be there making up the numbers. He wants to be there competing, and winning more big matches.”

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