- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 22, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Andy Murray spent two hours debating whether to play on at the ATP World Tour Finals, and said his body made the decision for him.

The third-ranked player from Scotland pulled out of the season-ending tournament Tuesday with a groin strain he sustained during practice last week.

After struggling through a straight-sets loss to David Ferrer, Murray decided to take the safe option after long conversations with his support team on Tuesday.

“I was just trying to find reasons why I should try to play,” Murray said. “But, you know, there was no real positives coming out and playing because yesterday I was really unhappy on the court. I wasn’t enjoying it at all.

“This is one of the best tournaments in the year, one that I think me and all of the players look forward to playing. I couldn’t give anywhere near my best.”

Murray said the injury wouldn’t require surgery but that he feared it might get worse if he kept playing. His main concern was not disrupting his preparation for the Australian Open in January, the first Grand Slam of the new season.

“The Australian Open is six, seven weeks away,” Murray said. “I could mess up my preparation for that, for the beginning of the year. That offseason is so important for me, and has been for the last few years of getting myself in shape.”

Murray will be replaced in the round-robin tournament by reserve player Janko Tipsarevic, who will play Tomas Berdych on Wednesday.

Murray’s withdrawal will keep concerns over the busy men’s calendar in the spotlight.

He is not the only player with injuries to arrive in London. Mardy Fish is nursing a hamstring problem, while Novak Djokovic has been troubled by a shoulder injury, putting a dampener on a tournament that is billed as the “final showdown” between the year’s top eight players.

After a second straight loss on Tuesday in his first appearance at the tournament, Fish said he is not considering withdrawing but is frustrated at not being able to play his best.

“You’re going to have to pry me off the court to not be able to compete in an event like this,” the American said. “I worked very hard this past year, these past two years, made a lot of sacrifices. These are the rewards, playing in an event like this.

“That’s why I say, it’s very disappointing to not be able to play at the level that I would like to play at.”

Murray, who won three straight titles in Asia in September and October, said he would reconsider his schedule next year.

“If you look at the other guys that played loads of matches this year, you know, Roger (Federer) and Novak both took a large break after the US Open. Rafa (Nadal) took one after Asia,” Murray said. “That’s something I probably need to learn from because I had played a lot of matches.”

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