Andy Murray will leave it until the last minute before deciding whether to enter the ATP Cup in January after admitting being conflicted.
The 32-year-old, who is about to embark on a three-week stint in Asia as he continues his comeback from hip surgery, has until 5pm on Friday to commit to the inaugural tournament in Australia.
Murray would need to use his protected ranking of world number two to get Great Britain into the team competition – where each tie has two singles and a doubles rubber – as 32nd-ranked Kyle Edmund is unlikely to be high enough to qualify.
The Scot is only in the infancy of his comeback from the hip operation that saved his career, playing just three singles tournaments, and his need for matches, the proximity of the tournament to the Australian Open and the team’s need are all factors playing on his mind.
“I need to decide on that by tomorrow (Friday),” Murray said. “And I find that quite difficult because I don’t want to play if I shouldn’t be playing.
“If I use my protected (ranking), I will play as the number one player. I think if you are playing in a competition like that the best player should be picked to play.
“The Australian Open would be the priority for me. And I don’t want to go there and not play any matches. So, I am finding that quite a difficult choice to make.
“I wouldn’t play the ATP Cup with it being that close to the Aussie Open if I was not going to play singles at the ATP Cup. I feel there are quite a few conflicts going there.
“If I am just looking out for myself, I’d go there, I enter and I play as the number one player, and I guarantee myself to play three matches, then that is great.
“But that is not how team competitions work. You should look out for what is best for the team and how you are going to win.”
Murray will return to the ATP Tour in a fortnight having dropped down to Challenger level for the first time in 14 years earlier this month when he heads to China.
He will play three tournaments in China – in Zhuhai, Beijing and Shanghai – before returning to Antwerp for the European Open.
It will be a packed schedule, but Murray is keeping expectations in check.
“I’m not expecting to go and just win 15 matches in three weeks in Asia,” he said at an
event at Queen’s to promote TRR Nutrition PRO Advanced Collagen – a daily liquid supplement developed specifically for the Scot.
“My anticipation is that I’m probably not going to do as well and I’m looking to win one or two matches a week and if I can do that then I think physically I’m ready to cope with that.
“The evidence so far that I’ve shown on the court, I have to be realistic as well. I don’t want to be delusional and just think ‘yeah, right, I’m going to enter two tournaments here and then one at the end of the year and that’s enough’.
“I need matches just now and there are no guarantees that I’ll get that. If I played Beijing and Shanghai I could draw whoever – Novak (Djokovic) first round in one tournament and Roger (Federer) in the second round in Shanghai.
“Then I’ve got three matches in two weeks and I need more than that just now. My body needs to build up some level of robustness.
“That’s the reason for entering the tournaments, to try and get matches. And if I’m not around matches I’m at least around, practising with top players, getting my body more used to the speed and things. That’s the decision.”