Andy Murray succumbs to O2 defeat against Kei Nishikori

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It's been a wholly uncomfortable weekend for Andy Murray - on and off-court - as his bid to win a first ATP World Tour Finals title got off to the worst possible start on Sunday afternoon.

The British no.1 has had to work extremely hard to book his spot at the season-ending tournament in the O2 Arena, and US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori was on-hand to disappoint his weary opponent in their Group B opener.

Nishikori downed the two-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets 6-4 6-4 as the young Japanese star looks to end a season of breakthrough on another high.

Uphill task

Murray, meanwhile, is already facing a uphill task in order to reach the semi-finals. The 27-year-old could do with beating the remaining competitors in the group, although his poor record against players from the world's top 10 will have to improve. 


The Briton has only beaten one of his fellow ATP Finalists in 2014, and his victory over Marin Cilic at the Beijing Open pales into insignificance at this stage considering the Croatian is in the other group. Roger Federer and Milos Raonic are the players Murray must now focus on. 

Indeed Federer - a six-time winner in the Finals - got off to great start by beating Raonic, also in straight sets, a little later in the evening. 

One saving grace for the Murray family this weekend is that Andy's mum, Judy Murray, continues to stay afloat in BBC dancing show 'Strictly Come Dancing'. Another week at the bottom of the judges leaderboard wasn't enough to deter public voters from keeping the tennis coach alive, at the expense of TV personality Alison Hammond.


Maybe Andy would like to think that he played a little part in ensuring his mother's progress in the competition. The former Wimbledon winner made a long overdue appearance on Saturday night, albeit in a VT - rather than at the show.  

The Scottish-born star was visited by Judy and her professional dancing partner Anton Du Beke at his training camp. He didn't look particularly happy about it, but his 55-year-old mum forced him to try a couple of the steps for the paso doble.

While he may have helped Judy, sort of, the dancing won't come in handy for his attempts to win a first ATP Finals title. He reached thee semis last time around in London but, until an Autumn surge, it's been a less successful 12 months for the former world no.2.

After seeing his world ranking plummet to 11th at one stage, Murray is looking to get back-on-track by impressing on home soil once more.  

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