Andy Murray given wildcard into Shenzhen Open

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Andy Murray has been awarded a wildcard into the inaugural Shenzhen Open in China later this month.

The world number 11 is aiming to improve his world ranking in order to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals at the 02 Arena in London in November, which is played between the top eight players at the end of the season.

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The British number one is in danger of failing to qualify for the event for the first time since 2007, after failing to reach the final of an ATP tournament in 2014.

Another low

The latest setback for the 27-year-old has been his world ranking falling out of the top 10 for the first time since 2008, after recently being knocked out in the quarter-finals of the US Open by Serbian Novak Djokovic.

While playing at the Shenzhen Open, which begins on Saturday September 20th, had originally not been on the two-time Grand Slam winner’s playing schedule, he has been forced to change his mind, as the end of his season was only set to take place at indoor Masters Series events in Shanghai and Paris.

But the tournament in Shenzhen will be his last outdoor hard court tournament of the year, in what will be the first time that it is being used on the ATP tour calendar, having previously been a WTA tournament only.

Croatian Marin Cilic’s recent success in winning the US Open has seen him rise to ninth in the rankings, and Grand Slam winners are only required to finish in the top 20 to qualify for the Tour Finals, meaning Murray and his competitors may have to finish in the top seven to qualify.

Looking forward

Murray is excited about playing at the event, despite previously stating that he would not overplay just to push his world ranking into the top eight.

The former world number two told his official website: “I am looking forward to competing at the Shenzhen Open, a new event on the ATP World Tour, and starting my first match of the Asian swing in China.

“I’m looking forward to a busy month in Asia and playing in front of the passionate fans out here.”

As it is an ATP 250 event, there will be 250 points on offer for the Dunblane-born player to win, and he is still searching for his first singles title since becoming the first British male to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 77 years in 2013.

Barren run

It has been a turbulent time for Murray since then, as back surgery forced him to miss the 2013 season, and his lack of form this year has coincided with a change in coach after parting company with Ivan Lendl in March.

Things have not improved under new coach Amelie Mauresmo, and he will be hoping to get back on track in Shenzhen, where he will compete for the title with the world’s top two players Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

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