• ATP Tour

Lloyd slams Murray over 'scandalous' strike warning

ESPN staff
September 21, 2011
Andy Murray made an 'incredible statement' about potential strikes according to David Lloyd © Getty Images

Former Great Britain Davis Cup captain, David Lloyd, has reacted incredulously to Andy Murray's recent revelation that the top players on the ATP Tour could strike.

Ahead of a forthcoming meeting of the game's top names, Murray spoke of discontent surrounding a "messed up" Tour schedule. The Brit's views arrived following a catalogue of withdrawals at the recent US Open, as well as Novak Djokovic's back injury picked up on Davis Cup duty just a week after he reigned supreme at Flushing Meadows.

The ATP Tour will extend its off-season by two weeks for the 2012 campaign, but Murray spoke of problems surrounding the number of mandatory events, as well as an unbalanced points system that make certain tournaments barely worth competing in when it comes to world rankings.

Murray told BBC Sport on September 19: "We're competing in the biggest events against the best players, it's pretty gruelling. There is extra stress on the body... we work hard and don't get much of a break. We need to have some say in things that go on in our sport, which right now we don't at all really."

Asked if the prospect of a strike will be discussed, Murray replied: "Yes I think so."

Those comments have triggered a reaction from Lloyd, who has never been afraid to speak his mind when it comes to the British No. 1. In the former Davis Cup captain's eyes, Murray should be grateful for the lavish life that he is able to lead - as a result of tennis.

"I find it an incredible statement. They are making absolute fortunes," Lloyd said. "Normally you strike because you are not getting enough money or your place of work is not good enough.

"They play all the best places in the world, they get picked up by Rolls Royces at the airport, they stay at 10-star hotels and get paid a fortune. So I am not sure what part of the normal reasons to strike are there. To say we are going to get round the table to try to sort out the calendar is different.

"I think it is a scandalous thing to say. I have no sympathy for the players. They can play 19 weeks and make £10 million or play 20 weeks and make £20 million. An extra £10 million, I don't really think that is a big problem to be honest."

Former performance director at the Lawn Tennis Association, David Felgate, has attempted to douse fears of a strike, insisting the prospect is highly unlikely. "I don't think we'll see a strike, certainly not from the grand slams. The guys aren't about to miss them," Felgate predicted.

"The biggest issue is where the Davis Cup falls after a grand slam - what we saw the guys having to do last week. The majority of players quite like those matches a week after [a grand slam] because most of them have lost halfway through. It is a problem.

"The conversation has gone on for years. There are so many factions. There's the ITF [International Tennis Federation], the four grand slams - who are all separate entities - then the ATP. You would hope they could all get together to sort it out but it's a cyclical story that just continues."

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