Originally Posted by kundalini
The davis cup match is on clay (I think) - so that would link in.
Hmm, I had forgotten about the Davis Cup. It is scheduled for 23-25 September in Geneva. So that rules out Szezecin but, on the other hand, makes it pretty easy to go to Grenoble for the 26th. All in all, his schedule seems to be decided for him this Autumn.
Originally Posted by kundalini
They may decide that top 100 is just not possible for the end of this season. (increasingly it looks that way)
Again, it all depends how team Murray sees the near future
- is he going to try to play Australian Open?
- is he looking to play on the main tour next year?
- does he expect to play european clay court season?
Because the way the entry system works, if he wants to compete in these tournaments next year, he needs the points by the end of this year. Qualifying is a nightmare. (especially with his fitness)
I don't really look at it like that. He must surely see only one near future: do whatever it takes to improve his ranking until the end of this season; then work on his fitness in November and December; and then carry on with the ranking focus until he gets into the top 50, however many months or years that takes.
How best to improve one's ranking? I think that Challengers are the best way for someone at Murray's stage of development. If one looks at the strength of the field in any Challenger and at the points available and then compares that with almost all ATP events (and absolutely all Masters and Slams), one quickly realises that it is a blessing to miss out on the bigger events. The way the system is set up, once a player starts to qualify for Masters and Slams, he is actually likely to find that his ranking starts to fall because these events are compulsorily included in his ranking and yet a first-round loss is slightly worse than a second-round loss in a Challenger and even a second-round loss is only about as good as reaching a semi-final in a Challenger. Meanwhile, because of the compulsory inclusion in the ranking, you are forcing out some potentially better results in Challengers. Of course, you do get some additional points if you qualify for the bigger events but that process can really interfere with your Challenger performance because of the travel involved.
If you look at the rankings in the 110-150 range, they are full of Europeans and Latin American guys who hardly ever leave home and play thirty clay-court challengers per year and not a single Masters or Slam. These people know what they are doing and Andy has to do this dance for a time while he works on his fitness and his play and picks up some experience. Hopefully, by the time he starts to qualify for Masters and Slams as of right, Andy will be playing well enough to take advantage of that and move upwards rather than slipping back down.
So, take your time Andy, avoid injury, get fitter and stronger, develop your game and experience, get your schedule right, and then the rest will look after itself.