Murray needs Roddick's help to qualify for Masters Cup

Society Materials 3 November 2007 19:59 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - Andy Murray is counting on Andy Roddick to save him from what would likely be a useless trip to China next week after just failing to qualify for the season-ending Masters Cup.

The Scot lost in three sets on Friday in the Paris Masters quarter-finals to Richard Gasquet in a late run for the final place in the eight-man field.

It was all to play for in the third, with the Frenchman taking the prize. Murray will now likely finish as second alternate for the Shanghai wrapup which begins next Sunday.

But for the Scot, travelling on the elite eight-man tournament on stand-by basis is not to his liking.

"He's obviously got the Davis Cup (final) coming up, and he's played, what, two or three matches since the US Open," said Murray in reference to Roddick, who has pleaded injury this autumn and lost the only ATP match he played since the US Open.

"I'm guessing he probably wants to try to play some matches."

Chatter from the other side of the Atlantic had suggested that the travel-shy American would prefer to skip China to concentrate on the November 30-December 2 Davis final against Russia in Oregon.

"The highest I can go is second alternate," said Murray, who missed three months of 2007 with a wrist injury. "I'm not going to go all the way over to Shanghai when it's a time where I'm going to be taking a break."

The Scot expressed pleasure with his season under coach Brad Gilbert, crediting the fast-talking Californian with helping him revive his game in the wake of the mid-season injury drama.

"With Brad, I've had a great year. I plan to start training really hard the week right after Shanghai.

"I'd rather not go all the way over there and end up not playing a match.

"Two guys need to pull out - I'm not expecting that to happen."

Murray said his intended programme will feature several weeks of off-season work in the US, either in Gilbert's northern California home or at the Bollettieri academy in Florida.

"I'll probably stay in London for a little while, then go over."

The 20-year-old who achieved a career-first Top ten ranking of eighth in the spring before his injury, cannot be displeased with a season which includes a repeat title in San Jose, one a week ago in St Petersburg and a decent charge at a year-end spot.

"I think it's been really positive, hopefully I can continue that into next year.

"These next sort of six, seven weeks are going to be a really important time for me. I'm going to train as hard as I can, make sure I've got the right team of people around me and then see what happens in Australia.

"I feel like I've got a good chance of playing well there."