Andy Murray has taken on a heavy workload in China recently, but his efforts to reach the ATP World Tour Finals could be in vein even if he finishes in the eighth and last qualifying spot.
A loophole has emerged with just a month before the tournament is due to kick-off, while players who haven't secured their spot in London continue to scrap for the requisite ranking points.
Supposedly, the eight players with the highest amount of ranking points for the calendar year will have earned the right to face each other at the O2 Arena in November.
However a scenario - which draws closer to happening everyday it seems - could see the eighth placed star miss-out in favour of Marin Cilic, in case the Croatian misses out on the qualifying spots.
There is a rule that gives automatic entry to a Grand Slam winner into the ATP World Tour Finals, regardless of where he finishes in the 'Race to London.' Well, Cilic won the US Open in shocking circumstances.
It hasn't really been an issue until now. The big three - Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic - usually have quite a hold on the rest of the field when it comes to Grand Slam titles and qualify with ease, they have all qualified this year too.
US Open shock winner
However Cilic's win opens an interesting can of worms. The Flushing Meadows winner hasn't exactly set the world alight aside from his run in New York and he is only sixth in the race, and on current form he could soon lose that place.
The world no.9 fell at the first hurdle in Shaghai and the likes of Murray, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych have closed the gap. There will be a massive opportunity for Cilic to fall out of one of the eight spots in the next Masters 1000 tournament in Paris later this month.
Understandably, Murray is unhappy about the prospect of missing out. The Grand Slams don't fall under the jurisdiction of the ATP and the 27-year-old feels they could undermine their own tournaments by letting Cilic in.
“If the ATP want their tournaments to be the most important tournaments, which I think they do – it’s the ATP World Tour Finals – you would hope that the players who would get in would be those who accumulate the most points across the whole year on the ATP tour,” the British no.1 said.
“But by putting the Grand Slam champions in then they would be saying the Grand Slams are the most important events.
“I’m not saying that’s wrong. I’ve put a lot of my time and effort and training into getting prepared for the Grand Slams and playing the best-of-five-set matches. They mean a lot to all the players. If Marin was to get in placed ninth, he would deserve to be there. Winning the US Open is a great achievement.
“But if you want to protect your own tour, then you need to make sure that the tournaments that we are playing throughout the whole year are seen as being just as important as the other ones.”
All about Paris
Murray can make sure it isn't an issue, Cilic likewise, if they both go well in the Paris Masters, though there is a lot of competition.
The Briton is unsurprisingly sweating, however, he is currently tenth after becoming a third round loser in Shanghai and is still around 100 points short of Milos Raonic, who missed the Masters in China through illness, and who currently occupies the last spot.
The standings are changing every day and things could a become a little clearer in the French capital. The only certainties are Nadal, Federer and Djokovic, while Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka could be vindicated in feeling confident.
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