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Andy Murray faces up to group of death in Finals bash

By Tom Allnutt

Andy Murray has been drawn in a group with Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic at the ATP World Tour Finals.

Murray has never won the prestigious competition and will be looking to retain his new World No.1 crown in London, which he officially took from Novak Djokovic yesterday.

This year Murray lost to Nishikori in the US Open quarter-finals and Cilic in the final at Cincinnati. The Scot beat Wawrinka in the French Open semi-finals in June.

The ATP World Tour Finals starts on Sunday and features the top eight players in the world, with the other group including Djokovic, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem.

Djokovic has won the season-ending tournament for the last four years and could claim back top spot in the rankings if he defends his title at the O2 Arena.

Murray, however, will remain at the summit if he can match or better Djokovic's run and he will be confident of doing so after securing his fourth consecutive title at the Paris Masters on Sunday.

"It's nice for that to happen and to get to play in London being ranked one," Murray said after the draw. "Once you get out on the court though you're not thinking about your ranking, you're playing against the best players in the world.

"Every match is extremely tough and I'll look forward to getting out there. It's always an amazing atmosphere at the O2, we get great crowds there so it'll be good fun."

Murray's success has put him 405 points ahead of Djokovic in the rankings but has also meant an exhausting few weeks for the British No.1.

"I'm trying to take a few days' rest now," Murray said. "It's one big final push for all the guys. It's been a lot of tennis for everyone so hopefully everyone plays well."

Murray's greatest threat in the group stage will be Wawrinka, the World No.3 who won his third Grand Slam at the US Open in September. The Swiss had won three consecutive matches against Murray before their most recent meeting at Roland Garros, when the Briton came through.

"It's been amazing what he's done this year and the past 10 years," Wawrinka said. "He's an amazing player, he's been fighting and winning almost everything. He deserves No.1. It will be good for him playing at home, it will be an interesting tournament."

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