Belfast Telegraph

Players won’t fear strike action, says Andy Murray

By Steve Simpson

Andy Murray has warned that the biggest names in tennis could go on strike to push through changes to the sport's busy calendar.

Murray will take part in talks at the Shanghai Masters next month, when the players will discuss what can be done to reduce their workload.

Concerns were raised over the high number of retirements in the recent US Open and the crammed schedule in New York.

There are fears that players are being expected to play too many events, leaving them with little chance of any rest.

Murray, the world number four, who went straight from losing in the US Open semi-finals to playing for Great Britain in last weekend's Davis Cup match against Hungary, believes there are players who would have no problem with downing their racquets.

And he appears ready to join them if the tennis authorities refuse to accept the players' demands, fearing it could be years before anything changes unless stars take a hardline stance.

Last night the Association of Tennis Professionals, which runs the men's tour, said it was “committed to working with players.” Players would be keen to avoid holding a strike, but Murray said: “It's a possibility. I know from speaking to some players they're not afraid of doing that.”

Asked whether the subject of a strike or boycott will be mentioned during the meeting in China, he said: “Yes I think so.

“If we come up with a list of things we want changed — and everyone is in agreement but they don't happen — then we need to have some say in what goes. At the moment we don't.

“We'll sit down, talk about it with the Association of Tennis Professionals and International Tennis Federation, see if they will come to a compromise and, if not, we'll go from there.”

The ATP responded to the remarks from Murray by stressing they would continue to listen to the players' suggestions, which also stating improvements to the calendar have already been made.

“The players should and do have a major say in how the game is run. The ATP Tour was formed as an equal partnership between players and tournaments,” the ATP said in a statement.

Belfast Telegraph

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