Andy Murray: Boycotting Australian Open was never an option

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Andy Murray

Andy Murray said he was unlikely to have boycotted the Australian Open. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Andy Murray says he’s pleased with the Australian Open’s decision to increase its prize money over the next few years, but also says he was never going to join in a boycott the Slam if the players’ prize money demands weren’t met.

“I think the Australian Open has stepped up really well. They’ve obviously listened to the players and the ATP and have made a real effort to improve things,” said the 25 year-old, the defending champion in Shanghai.

“You know, from my side, I never viewed striking at the Australian Open as a real option.”

Come on, Andy, you don’t flip your cards over to show you were bluffing after you’ve won yourself a big poker hand. I wrote last week that a part of me would have liked to have seen how this all would have played out if the Slams dug their heels in and called the ATP’s bluff of a boycott. Would Murray have gone the way of the scab? Or would he hold the party line?

Luckily for the lower-ranked players it sounds like their prime negotiator, Roger Federer, is committed to keep the pressure on the Slams to pay up. Speaking in Shanghai, Federer made it clear that he didn’t see the Australian Open’s ballooning prize purse as charity. The players deserve the raise and they’re coming for more.

“The question is, are we that extremely happy with the Australian Open? It was nice to see they have made a move. Is it significant enough? I’m not sure. We’ll see how things play out in the next nine months,” he added.

  • Published On Oct 10, 2012
    Sort: Newest | Oldest

    Murray publicly revealed both his hand and the players’ hand. Instead of grabbing the spotlight, Murray should have deflected the question by answering that this question should best be addressed by the Player Council’s leaders:


    Q.  “So from your perspective it's all steam ahead now, the Australian Open is on, everything is fine, all those threats have gone away now?”

    Murray: “Yeah, I hope so.  I think the Australian Open has stepped up really well.  They've obviously listened to the players and the ATP and have made a real effort to improve things. You know, from my side, I never viewed striking at the Australian Open as a real option.  From all the players I've spoken to so far, everyone's been very happy with the increases in the prize money and their plan over the next few years, as well.  Hopefully that's something we won't need to worry about for a while.”


    Federer and Butorac are the only player leaders elected by the players to speak on their behalf on the negotiations. Both Murray and Djokovic should have shut up – particularly on information revealing what the players are thinking and might do. Murray and Djokovic are not authorized to speak on the player’s behalf, they are not on the Player Council and are not primary negotiators. They went against the Player Council president Federer’s directive to keep the negotiations behind closed doors. By grabbing the spotlight they went against the party line and are compromising ongoing negotiations with the other grand slams.


    Murray might as well have joined Wimbledon’s negotiating team. With his comments he has emboldened Wimbledon and the other slams on their negotiating positions.


    All players, both men and women, should thank Federer for using his reputation, relationships and influence to unite the players and negotiate these unparalleled prize money increases from the grand slams. One wonders whether these protracted negotiations and dealing with player differences have had any consequences on his performances at the US Open and Shanghai. After all, if the NHL’s player’s negotiator Donald Fehr was also a hockey player, would he have been able to focus on his hockey games?