Andy Murray hopes Battle of the Brits event in Scotland can go ahead next week
Andy Murray is committed to playing at the Battle of the Brits event in Aberdeen next week if it goes ahead.
The exhibition tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday, the brainchild of his brother Jamie, will pit the leading male players from Scotland against their English counterparts, but the rapid rise in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant has put large-scale events once more in doubt.
Murray missed out on a long-awaited return to the Australian Open last year because of an untimely bout of coronavirus but the 34-year-old is still planning to head to Scotland.
Speaking after a 6-3 6-2 victory over English number one Dan Evans at the exhibition Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, Murray said: “As far as I’m aware it’s still going ahead but obviously it changes daily as to what the guidance is and what is and isn’t allowed.
“Certainly it’s very concerning what’s happening at home just now, the number of cases. It’s rising unbelievably quickly. There’s lots of people that I know that have had the virus recently or have just caught it, which was not really the case with the first couple of waves.
“If they change the guidelines and fans are not allowed then that’s obviously a decision that my brother and the people organising the event would have to take.
“The last information we were given was I think yesterday morning that the event was still going ahead. There’s different protocols in place now in terms of testing and limitations on the people you can bring with you. Things are obviously changing all the time just now so we’ll have to wait and see.”
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Plans for a big Murray family Christmas in Scotland have been cancelled and the former world number one will instead spend the period at home in Surrey with wife Kim, their four children and Kim’s parents.
He is also hoping to get the booster jab before travelling to Australia on December 27 or 28.
Results in exhibition events should be taken with a pinch of salt but Murray was certainly impressive against Evans, who was a late replacement and was off the pace, looking sharp and moving well to set up a semi-final against Rafael Nadal on Friday.
Murray is spending a trial period with German coach Jan De Witt having split from long-time advisor Jamie Delgado last week.
Murray said of De Witt, who has previously coached French duo Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon among others: “We’ve spent six days together, which obviously is not a lot.
“Here is an opportunity to play some matches and see how he goes about strategy and preparing for matches, and also debrief afterwards. So far it’s been good.”
The split from Delgado came about after he was offered the chance to coach Canadian Denis Shapovalov, and Murray said: “I think that’s a great opportunity. I hope he does well.
“I was just looking for something a bit different. The next few years are the last few years of my career and I want to make sure I have the team around me that I want and believes they can get me to where I want to get to.”
Murray has not played Nadal since 2016, and this will be the Spaniard’s first match following a lengthy lay-off with a foot injury.
“I didn’t know whether I was going to get the opportunity to play matches like that again,” said Murray. “Rafa’s someone that I’ve had some great battles with at some of the biggest tournaments in the world. It’ll be great. Hopefully we can put on a good performance for a couple of old guys.”
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