Andy Murray - Queen's 2023

Andy Murray slams ‘hypocritical’ players for competing in exhibitions

Andy Murray has suggested that some of his colleagues can be ‘hypocritical’, using the example of complaining about the length of the tennis schedule and then competing in exhibitions in the off-season.

Murray is currently in Dubai for the second ATP tournament in the Middle East, after the former No.1 ended his six-match losing streak last week in Doha.

And it is in the Middle East where Murray has been asked about what he would change about the tennis season, to which he responded, “I think there should be a longer off-season as well.”

The 36-year-old continued, “I don’t know if I would want restrictions on exhibitions. I just think that sometimes the players are a little bit hypocritical [over] the tennis schedule, and it’s like the tennis schedule is too long, but then players are flying all over the world in the off-season to play exhibitions, and that’s their choice.

“But it just seems hypocritical because they don’t have to play the exhibitions. And they don’t have to play every tournament on the ATP tour; they can decide not to come here [to Dubai] or they don’t have to play Indian Wells. Yes, that might harm their ranking, but they can choose to miss those events. So yeah, I would probably like to see a longer off-season.”

Not only are exhibitions now taking place in the off-season, but also during the season with Patrick Mouratoglou’s Ultimate Tennis Showdown and the Six Kings Slam being held in Saudi Arabia.

The three-time major winner also spoke about how lower-ranked players can suffer due to exhibitions, with the events generally wanting the best in the world.

“It’s the top players in the world that are able to play exhibitions, where they make lots of money, but the rest of the players they don’t have that opportunity and who should you feel more,” explained the world No.67. “Well, the players that are at the top of the game make loads of money from prize money, commercial sponsorships, appearance fees and everything, and exhibitions.

“It is the slightly lower-ranked players that obviously don’t get those opportunities. So for them, they want more tournaments, because it’s a chance for them to earn more money. So there has to be a bit of a balance to that.”

Murray will be turning his attention back to on-court action later today, when he plays 2021 Wimbledon semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Inside the baseline…

It is hard not to see Andy Murray’s point in this scenario, and the Brit does often voice his opinions when it comes to inequality and just overall wanting a fairer tour and society. Although he did not specifically give any names, it would be interesting to know if Murray had particular people in mind who he thought were ‘hypocritical’. But what is clear is that exhibition events are a big money earner, so it is understandable why players want to compete in them, but maybe then they should not complain about the official tennis season.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.