Auckland tournament tries to lure Andy Murray
Andy Murray has been offered a wildcard for next week's ATP tennis tournament in Auckland.
The Brit today lost in the second round of the Qatar Open, going down to Germany's Florian Mayer 3-6 6-4 6-2.
It was his first tournament since having a back operation a few months ago and it's possible that making such an early exit at his only tournament leading up to the Australian Open, he may decide he would like to come to Auckland.
Tournament director Karl Budge has confirmed to Fairfax Media that he has offered last year's Wimbledon winner his last available wildcard, but he hasn't heard back and acknowledges it's unlikely he'll accept the offer.
Of his defeat to Mayer, where he hit 25 winners but made 37 unforced errors, Murray said he wasn't hopeful of achieving much in Doha.
''I didn't have extremely high expectations, because I haven't obviously played a match for a long time,'' Murray said.
''You don't know exactly how your body is going to respond.''
Murray came to New Zealand in 2006 and lost in the second round to Mario Ancic. He found himself in hot water after his first round match in Auckland for saying that he and Kenneth Carlson 'played like women' in the first set.
If Murray does take up the offer of the wildcard it means New Zealand's Rubin Statham will miss out and have to play in the qualifying tournament.
The No 1 ranked Kiwi understands that he might not get a main draw wildcard if there is a marquee player that decides at the last moment he wants to come to Auckland.