World No 3 Andy Murray may play in Auckland

DAVID LONG
Last updated 16:45 03/01/2014
Andy Murray
Getty Images
WILDCARD: Andy Murray has the opportunity to play in Auckland.

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Kiwi Rubin Statham is still waiting to find out if he'll be given a main draw wildcard or if he'll have to qualify for next week's ATP tennis tournament in Auckland as question marks remain over Andy Murray's possible participation in the event.

Tournament director Karl Budge has offered his last wildcard to Murray, who lost early in Doha this week. If the Scot doesn't take up the offer, it will be given to Statham, the New Zealand No 1.

It was reported earlier that Murray had chosen to play a couple of exhibition matches in Kooyong before the Australian Open, which starts on January 13.

However, Budge said he had spoken to Murray's agent and a decision would not be made until after he arrived in Melbourne today.

Doha was Murray's only scheduled tournament before the Australian Open and his first since recovering from a back operation.

Statham practised on centre court at the ASB Tennis Arena today, hitting with Britain's Cameron Norrie, but didn't know whether his tournament would begin in the qualifying event in Albany tomorrow or on centre court.

"I am playing the waiting game," said Statham, who has a world ranking of 289.

Understandably, Statham would like to get the wildcard for the main draw, but he accepted that it would be great for the tournament if Murray decided to come to Auckland for the second time.

"Of course, Andy Murray is winning Grand Slams," Statham said.

"He's a great player and it would be huge for New Zealand and an event like this to have Andy playing. I completely understand that."

However, Statham said he was left in a predicament about where and how he should get ready to play.

"Preparation is the most tricky thing to it, do I prepare to play tomorrow?" he asked.

"Even with practice, yesterday I was thinking, 'do I hit out at Albany and practise there because I might be playing there, or do I come here and practise on centre court because I might play here?'

"Preparation is a bit tricky, but I am just presuming that I'm going to play on Monday here and I'm being positive that way, hoping old Andy doesn't turn up."

A earlier version of this story reported that Andy Murray had already turned down the opportunity to play in Auckland next week. This was incorrect. We apologise for the error. 

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- Fairfax Media

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