ATP Tour

Murray fit for Hopman Cup

Andy Murray playing for the Manila Mavericks (Ted Aljibe, AFP)
Andy Murray playing for the Manila Mavericks (Ted Aljibe, AFP)

Perth - Andy Murray lifted a huge load from the minds of Hopman Cup organisers on Sunday when he confirmed a shoulder niggle will not keep him from playing in the international mixed team event.

The ATP number six complained of his physical problem after crushing Rafael Nadal in the weekend semi-finals of the Abu Dhabi exhibition. Murray then won the Gulf title on Saturday when opponent Novak Djokovic could not front up due to a virus.

But Murray was not prepared to travel to Perth for Britain's Monday tie against holder France until he got a medical all clear. That came in the results of a scan, which showed no serious damage to his painful left shoulder.

The Hopman event has already had to deal with pullouts from Aussie teenaged drawcard Nick Kyrgios, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, American Jack Sock and Radek Stepanek.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams said on Sunday she is prepared to beat the heat when she faces off on Monday in a group match against Italy, playing Flavia Pennetta in what is forecast to be 41 Celsius summer heat in Western Australia.

Williams, who arrived in Australia on Saturday from winter in Florida, had a somewhat off-putting experience with a koala as part of a photoshoot, with the world number one not keen on cuddling the marsupial for more than the few moments it took for cameras to capture the "memorable" moment,

Williams was much more focused on her opening match of 2015, no matter what the weather.

"If anything it's going to help me for Melbourne," Williams of the scorching forecast. "Perth is one of the most hottest places I've ever played, so it will be really good for the preparation in Melbourne, which is always super hot.

"I haven't won in Australia for several years (her last Open title came in 2010) but there's also a lot of other people who want (to win the trophy) I'll just have to do my best."

Some relief for Williams and Italy's Pennetta could come with the Perth Arena roof closed due to extreme heat, the same policy followed at the Australian Open.

Williams, a two-time Perth champion, is teamed with is John Isner on the US side. The pair will do double duty, with the Italy tie on Monday and one with Canada (Eugenie Bouchard) on Tuesday.

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