September 9, 2008

Murray, Erlich/Ram Qualify for Tennis Masters Cup

Andy Murray
© AFP/Getty Images

- US Open finalist to make debut at prestigious circuit finale
- Reigning Australian Open doubles champions return to Shanghai for third year

Shanghai, China – US Open finalist Andy Murray of Great Britain secured his first trip to the prestigious Tennis Masters Cup—to be held at Shanghai’s Qi Zhong Stadium from November 9-16—joining the ATP’s top trio of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as singles players to have clinched their place in the elite eight-man, eight-team field. Meanwhile, reigning Australian Open doubles champions Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram became the third team to qualify for the circuit finale.

Murray moved up to a career-high No. 4 in the ATP 2008 Race and South African Airways ATP Rankings – matching the highest ranking ever held by a British man – after reaching his first Grand Slam final at the US Open. En route, he defeated World No. 10 Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round, snapped Juan Martin del Potro’s 23-match winning streak in the quarterfinals and posted his first win in six meetings against World No. 1 Nadal in the semifinals.

“I am having my best season ever and qualifying for (Tennis Masters Cup) Shanghai is a great reward. It was one of my goals at the beginning of 2008 and I look forward to competing there for the first time,” said Murray, the first Briton to qualify for the circuit finale since Tim Henman in 2004.

The 21-year-old from Dunblane, Scotland, has enjoyed an impressive 2008 campaign with a 41-14 record. He won the Doha and Marseille titles in the first two months of the season, and collected his first ATP Masters Series title in August at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati. His eight wins against Top 10 players this season – inclusive of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic – is the second-best on the ATP circuit behind Nadal’s 16.

Tennis Masters Cup Tournament Director Brad Drewett said: “We are very excited to have Andy in Shanghai this year, especially as he was so close to qualifying last year. He has had another outstanding year and everyone in China is looking forward to having him qualifying for his first Masters Cup event later this year.”

Erlich and Ram, currently No. 3 in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race behind US Open champions Bob and Mike Bryan and Wimbledon titlists Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, will be making their third straight appearance at the Tennis Masters Cup. They will be looking to advance beyond the round robin stage for the first time in Shanghai, after going 1-2 in each of their circuit finale showings. The Israeli duo enjoyed a strong start to the 2008 season with their team’s first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and the ATP Masters Series shield at Indian Wells.

The top eight players in the ATP 2008 Race following the BNP Paribas Masters along with the top seven teams in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race, with one spot reserved for Grand Slam champions finishing within the Top 20, will qualify for the circuit finale.

Video: ATP's 'Big Three' First To Qualify





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