LONDON: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray (pictured) has decided not to attend Sunday’s BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony despite being the hot favourite to take the top prize.
The Scot was installed as the front-runner for the prestigious award immediately following his historic win over Novak Djokovic in July made him the first British men’s singles victor at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.
Murray had considered being present at the hugely popular ceremony in Leeds, but in the end decided to stay at his training base in Miami where he is working his way back to fitness after an operation on his lower back in September.
Instead the 26-year-old Murray will link up with the show live by video from Florida, as he did last year, when he was presented with the third-placed trophy by boxer Lennox Lewis.
The world number four intends to train every day up to and including Christmas Day before flying to Abu Dhabi, where he is due to begin his season on December 26 with a match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Murray does not want his decision to be seen as a snub to the award or the BBC, who he writes a column for during Wimbledon and with whom he collaborated on a documentary ahead of this year’s
The Scot only began playing points in practice last week and, although his recovery is said to be broadly on track, he feels he still has a lot of work to do.
Murray is renowned as one of the tour’s hardest trainers and knowing he has done everything possible to prepare himself for big events is central to his approach.
After the exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, which also features Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Murray will return to the ATP Tour in Doha the following week.
The world number four has yet to confirm his participation at the Australian Open, but his desire to be in the best shape possible for the first grand slam of the season is the main reason behind his decision not to fly back to Britain.
A BBC spokesperson said of Murray’s absence: “We are of course disappointed that Andy Murray cannot be in Leeds in person but are very much looking forward to him joining us live on the night via