An ATP tournament director has proclaimed that Andy Murray is “worth more” than a player ranked 15th or 20th in the world “that the general public doesn’t know.”
Jean-Francois Caujolle, director of the ATP tournament in Marseille, declared he would prefer to have Murray at his event than world No 11 Alex de Minaur as the Brit is “a guy you put on prime time.”
Marseille-born Caujolle, a former ATP player who was ranked as high as world No 59, founded the Open 13 event in Marseille in 1993 and continues to manage the tournament.
The 32nd edition of the ATP 250 tournament, which is played on indoor hard courts in the southern French city, will run from February 5-11 this year.
Three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No 1 Murray, who won the event in 2008, will feature at the 2024 edition at the Palais des sports de Marseille.
Murray has lost all three of his matches so far in 2024 in a difficult start to the season and has lost eight of his last nine competitive encounters stretching back to September.
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In an interview with French publication La Provence, Caujolle expressed that Murray is still a big draw at tournaments ahead of the 36-year-old’s appearance at his event next week.
“Andy Murray, like Matteo Berrettini and even Denis Shapovalov, these are names. They have a quality of play, a presence. Having Murray is nice, it’s great,” the Frenchman said.
“Murray is worth more than a 15th or 20th in the world that the general public doesn’t know. Between Murray and Alex De Minaur, I prefer to have Murray. He’s a guy you put on prime time.”
The eight entrants who will be seeded in Marseille are Hubert Hurkacz, Grigor Dimitrov, Karen Khachanov, Ugo Humbert, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Lorenzo Musetti, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jiri Lehecka.
World No 49 Murray suffered a disappointing three-set defeat to world No 112 Benoit Paire in the opening round of the ATP 250 tournament in Montpellier this week.
The loss led some observers to question whether Murray should continue playing given his recent struggles, with one story on the BBC Sport website suggesting he may be ‘tarnishing’ his legacy.
In a post on X / Twitter, the two-time Olympic champion hit back at the article and asserted his intention to keep going: “Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour. I’m in a terrible moment right now I’ll give you that.
Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour. I’m in a terrible moment right now I’ll give you that. Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I’m not most people and my mind works differently. I won’t quit. I will keep fighting and working to produce the… https://t.co/nF0var6IfL
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) January 30, 2024
“Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I’m not most people and my mind works differently. I won’t quit. I will keep fighting and working to produce the performances I know I’m capable of.”
READ MORE: Why Andy Murray’s latest horrible defeat may be the final straw in his losing battle