The top two seeds will do battle in the European Open final following commanding victories for Jannik Sinner and Diego Schwartzman on Saturday.

Sinner, the number one seed, moved into his fifth final of the season with a 6-2 6-2 defeat of Lloyd Harris in Antwerp.

The 20-year-old Italian, who is in the hunt for a maiden ATP Finals spot, dominated Harris from the baseline and saved all three break points he faced.

There were only 16 unforced errors from the racket of the composed Sinner, who will be bidding to win his fourth title of the season on Sunday.

Sinner said: "I am very happy to be in the final. I just love playing here and love playing indoors, so hopefully I can play a great match again tomorrow."

Schwartzman ended 20-year-old American Jenson Brooksby's impressive run with a 6-4 6-0 victory.

The Argentinian struck 15 winners and secured five breaks as he marched into the championship match.

Russian second seed Aslan Karatsev will come up against Marin Cilic in his first final on home soil after knocking compatriot Karen Khachanov out of the Kremlin Cup.

Karatsev beat Khachanov 7-6 (9-7) 6-1, while sixth seed Cilic – a two-time winner of the tournament in Moscow – got the better of Ricardas Berankis 6-3 6-4.

Andrey Rublev's hopes of retaining the Kremlin Cup on home soil in Moscow are over after he suffered a surprise defeat to Adrian Mannarino.

Mannarino ultimately came out on top 5-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 but he had to do it the hard way, coming back from match point down to set up a meeting with Ricardas Berankis, who lost only tree games in a 6-2 6-1 win over Federico Coria.

Rublev was never cruising, however, as Mannarino only just fell short in the first set and then took the second to a tiebreak, which he eventually won to turn the tide.

The 33-year-old, who lost to Rublev in the final two years ago, took things up a notch in the decider and did not face a single break point as he got the job done despite the home support.

"The crowd was cheering for Andrey but that is normal," he said after reaching the quarter-finals. "I was happy to play with such a nice atmosphere.

"We have been playing for a long time without fans, so it is nice to enjoy a stadium with crowds now."

Second-seed Aslan Karatsev is now the favourite in Moscow, and the Russian had few issues in a 6-4 6-3 defeat of Egor Gerasimov.

Karatsev will face Gilles Simon next following his 6-3 6-2 win over Mackenzie McDonald, while Pedro Martinez won 6-3 6-4 over Filip Krajinovic to book his passage.

At the European Open in Antwerp, Andy Murray's hopes of winning a first ATP Tour title in two years were ended by number two seed Diego Schwartzman.

The Argentinian trailed 4-1 in the first set but fought back to win 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in his first ever match against the Scot, whose last tour triumph was in Antwerp.

In his on-court interview, Schwartzman said: "It was a pleasure to play against Andy. We had not played before and he is coming back and every week he is playing better and moving better.

"I have a lot of respect because when I grew up playing tennis, I was watching Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal], Andy and Novak [Djokovic] and right now playing against him is a pleasure for me."

Seventh seed Lloyd Harris is also into the quarter-finals after a straightforward 6-2 6-3 victory over Jan-Lennard Struff in just 72 minutes, Marton Fucsovics came through 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-1 against Roberto Bautista Agut and Brandon Nakashima edged past Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 to earn the right to face Schwartzman.

Daniil Medvedev says it is "logical" that the age of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic has made it easier to play against the 'Big Three' of men's tennis.

For so long, that triumvirate has dominated the ATP Tour, with Djokovic winning three of the four grand slams on offer in 2021 – denied only a clean sweep by Medvedev at the US Open.

Nadal has struggled with a foot injury for most of the year, though, a problem that saw him miss out on Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and Flushing Meadows after losing to Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals.

Federer, similarly, has missed large parts of the 2021 term after requiring a third operation on his right knee in the space of 18 months.

Medvedev accepted Djokovic had proven "he can beat everyone" in another sensational season, but – while heaping praise on a golden generation of tennis – the Russian said it is natural that time has caught up with all three.

"It would be silly to deny it…[it's] logical," he told reporters about the prospect of younger players replacing the greats at the top of the men's game.

"It is something natural. It is not something that I decide. It is evidence. They get old and now it is easier to play against them."

Medvedev only dropped one set across the entire tournament en route to securing a maiden slam at the US Open.

However, Medvedev was reticent to say the shift in power has taken place.

"I do not dare to speak of a generational change in tennis," Medvedev said.

"It is the best generation in the history of tennis.

"Nobody can come close to the results they have achieved.

"We all want to defeat that troika. And they don't want to lose either."

 

Medvedev then focused on his own progress, having pulled out of the Kremlin Cup citing injury problems from an early exit in Indian Wells.

"I want to win more Grand Slams," he continued. "I also want to be number one and be at the top of tennis for many years. But you can't win every tournament, it's impossible."

Karen Khachanov revealed he felt the nerves of playing in front of a home crowd as he marked his return to Moscow with a comeback victory in the Kremlin Cup.

Handed a bye for the opening round, third seed Khachanov made home advantage count in his first match as the Russian defeated Australian world number 50 James Duckworth 3-6 6-3 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Khachanov – Olympic Games silver medallist, who triumphed in Moscow three years ago – will face another Australian, John Millman after he defeated Illya Marchenko 6-1 5-7 6-4 at the ATP 250 tournament.

"It always feel great to be back in your hometown, in a tournament where everything started for me as a professional tennis player," world number 31 Khachanov said.

"[This is] where I won my first matches, I got my first points. Since then, it's always great to come back home to see a crowd, [get] home support. It's also little bit more nervous, of course. But I always enjoy playing at home."

Khachanov was joined in going through to the last eight by sixth seed Marin Cilic – a two-time Kremlin Cup champion who overcame Tommy Paul 7-5 6-3.

At the European Open in Antwerp, top seed Jannik Sinner downed fellow Italian youngster Lorenzo Musetti 7-5 6-2 in the duo's first meeting as professionals.

"We never practice together, so it was kind of a new match," Sinner said post-match.

"He's an incredible player. He's a very great talent, so I hope we will have a couple of more matches on the pro tour, and obviously I'm very happy about my level today."

Arthur Rinderknech upstaged eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 6-3 4-6 6-2 to set up a quarter-final tie with Sinner, who is in the hunt for a fourth title of the season and a place at next month's ATP Finals in Turin.

Another emerging talent, qualifier Jenson Brooksby, bettered US Open quarter-finalist Botic van de Zandschulp 6-2 6-0, with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina sending third seed Cristian Garin packing 4-6 6-3 6-3.

Australian Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke insists Novak Djokovic would need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter the country and defend his Australian Open title.

The Serbian is the top-ranked player in the world and could move clear of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for grand slam titles if he can claim his 21st at Melbourne Park.

However, Hawke's comments regarding vaccination requirements cast doubts over Djokovic's participation, with the 34-year-old previously declining to reveal his vaccination status.

"You'll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia," Hawke said to Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio. "That's a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated.

"I don't have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He'll need to be double vaccinated."

With recent reports suggesting that over a third of professional players have yet to be fully vaccinated, a significant number could be denied the chance to play in the opening grand slam of 2022.

The men's ATP and women's WTA tours have attempted to encourage players with reservations to get the vaccine, and Tennis Australia explained that it was working with government authorities regarding conditions for the tournament.

"Our understanding is that the details around international visitors entering the country are yet to be decided and we hope to have more information soon," Tennis Australia said in a statement.

Australia's health minister Greg Hunt defended the ruling, explaining that the decision had been taken with the safety of the country's citizens in mind.

"The [rules] apply to everyone without fear or favour," Hunt said. "It doesn't matter whether you are number one in the world or you are anything else."

Djokovic, who withdrew from the Indian Wells Masters this month, has won nine of his majors at the Australian Open.

World number one Novak Djokovic is unsure if he will defend his Australian Open crown in Melbourne next year due to vaccination requirements.

The state of Victoria, where the year's opening grand slam takes place at Melbourne Park, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes and across most industries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne due to COVID-19.

Djokovic was among the players critical of the conditions athletes endured prior to this year's Australian Open, with strict quarantine measures introduced, though the nine-time champion cast doubt over his participation.

"Things being as they are, I still don't know if I will go to Melbourne," 20-time major winner Djokovic told Blic. "I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

"People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person. Whatever you say 'yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it', they will take advantage."

"Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete. I love this sport and I am still motivated," said Djokovic, who has not played since losing in the US Open final, having withdrew from the Indian Wells Masters.

"I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open and I understand the final decision [on COVID-related restrictions] will be made in two weeks. I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.

"My manager, who is in contact with the Australian Tennis Federation, tells me they are trying to improve the conditions for everyone, both for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not."

Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews responded to Djokovic's comments on Tuesday, saying it was unlikely unvaccinated players would be granted a visa to travel to Australia.

"I don't think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country and if they did get a visa they'd probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks," Andrews told reporters.

Cameron Norrie became the first British player to win the ATP Indian Wells Masters after fighting back to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in an historic three-set victory.

Norrie dropped the opening set before rallying to a memorable 3-6 6-4 6-1 triumph for the biggest title of his career on Sunday.

The world number 26 became the first man ranked outside the top 25 to win in the Californian desert since Ivan Ljubicic in 2010 as he moved 10th in the Race to Turin, with the ATP Finals taking place next month.

"It means so much to me, my biggest title. I'm so happy. I can't even describe it right now," 21st seed Norrie said in his on-court interview. "It was a strange match today but absolutely massive for me and my team.

"I can't really believe it. If you’d have told me I'd have won before the tournament started I wouldn’t have believed you, so it's amazing."

Basilashvili – the 29th seed – was down an early break at 3-1 before turning the first set on its ear by reeling off five straight games to seize control.

It was the first time Norrie had dropped an opening set at this year's tournament and it was looking ominous when the new British number one surrendered another break at 2-1 at the start of the second.

But a run of eight consecutive points fuelled Norrie, who broke to level the match against Basilashvili.

While Basilashvili had his chances, Norrie used his defensive skills to outlast the Georgian after almost two hours on court.

Norrie, who boasts a 47-20 record in 2021, added: "I've been really enjoying my tennis and been enjoying being out on court and competing in the big moments.

"I'm just really pleased with how I handled the occasion. I think I'm doing a lot better with that this year. I lost a lot of those finals, so it's nice to get the big one today."

ameron Norrie continued his sensational year by reaching his sixth and most significant final for the season with a straight-sets win over Grigor Dimitrov in the Indian Wells Masters semi-finals on Saturday.

The British 21st seed claimed his 46th win for the season, earning his sixth final appearance for the season, which is the equal most of any male player on tour, alongside Novak Djokovic.

Norrie will play Georgian 29th seed Nicoloz Basilashvili who defeated local Taylor Fritz in straight sets to reach a Masters 1000 final for the first time.

 

NORRIE TOPPLES TIRING DIMITROV

Norrie will also be making his maiden Masters 1000 final appearance after a 6-2 6-4 victory over 23rd seed Dimitrov in one hour and 26 minutes.

The 26-year-old Briton got ahead in both sets with an early break to set up the victory. Norrie moves ahead of Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas and level with Djokovic for most final appearances this season.

"I've been playing a lot of big matches this year, which has helped," Norrie said during his on-court interview. "I feel like I am used to the big moments and the big matches.

"I'm feeling more and more comfortable and I feel like I am playing on my terms in key moments."

Dimitrov, who beat top seed Daniil Medvedev in an epic fourth round comeback, appeared spent physically with 31 unforced errors compared to Norrie's 19, with the Briton only hitting 12 winners for the match.

The triumph boosts Norrie's hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals, with victory in the decider to see him move past Jannik Sinner into 10th position and within 125 points of the last position, currently occupied by Hubert Hurkacz.

 

BASILASHVILI MAKES MAIDEN MASTERS 1000 FINAL

Basilashvili overcame late nerves to secure his first-ever Masters 1000 final berth with victory over 31st seed Fritz in 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in one hour and 41 minutes.

The 29-year-old, who had never won a main draw match at Indian Wells prior to this year's event, had 26-21 winners for the match, stepping up in the key moments to claim his breakthrough spot in a decider.

"It means a lot, especially at Indian Wells," Basilashvili said during his on-court interview. "People call this the fifth grand slam so it means a lot."

The Georgian was uncompromising and committed throughout, staving off three Fritz set points in the first set, before getting the lead in a tiebreak. Basilashvili converted his first break point for the match to lead 4-2 in the second set, although he spurned three match points with missed forehands, before sealing victory.

"For me, I'm first time experiencing semi-finals, finals and quarter-finals so I'm really tight," Basilashvili said. "It's natural but I try to get rid of it as much as I can. If I focus on my game and play, I can play good tennis."

Alexander Zverev rued a missed opportunity to win the Indian Wells Masters as he crashed out in the quarter-finals at the hands of home favourite Taylor Fritz.

American Fritz saved two match points to pull off an upset 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Olympic gold medallist Zverev.

Third seed Zverev was aware he had become hot favourite to triumph in California after Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out to Nikoloz Basilashvili earlier on Friday, with US Open champion Daniil Medvedev already eliminated.

And the German was frustrated with his performance against Fritz, which left him unable to add to the Masters 1000 titles he has already won in Madrid and Cincinnati this year.

"It was just not really my day, to be honest," said Zverev, who had beaten Jenson Brooksby, Andy Murray and Gael Monfils to reach the last eight.

"I was close to winning, but the level of tennis was just not there for me.

"Mentally this is not easy for me. My next tournament is Vienna, so hoping I can deal with it well there, but right now I just want to go home.

"It was a very long season and I have played well but this one hurts because I knew that, after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favourite to win this tournament, but my tennis wasn't there yet."

Zverev had won 20 of his previous 21 matches on hard courts and led 5-2 in the deciding set.

But Fritz was not to be denied, firing 36 winners to secure the second top-five win of his career, with this triumph adding to impressive victories over Italian duo Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner this week.

Fritz said: "This is the farthest I've ever been in a big tournament. 

"It is easily the best win of my life, against a really tough opponent on arguably the biggest match I could possibly play, so it's great.

"The biggest thing was match point down, I wanted to make him serve it out, so I just fought as hard as I could to hold that game.

"Then I got fortunate in his service game and from there I felt in control and felt really good under the pressure. I kept fighting. The crowd pushing me on meant so much.

"It is amazing. Especially the way that match ended with such high emotions with the crowd. The crowd was amazing and it is a dream come true."

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev both crashed out in the quarter-finals on a day of upsets at the Indian Wells Masters.

Tsitsipas – the second seed – suffered a shock defeat to Nikoloz Basilashvili in a memorable outing for the Georgian in the Californian desert on Friday.

Afterwards, third seed Zverev was upstaged by Taylor Fritz in another boilover at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

 

BASILASHVILI BANISHES STEFANOS FOR MAIDEN MASTERS SF

In the biggest win of his career, 29th seed Basilashvili conquered French Open runner-up Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4.

Basilashvili's powerful groundstrokes from the baseline troubled Tsitsipas throughout as he reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

Prior to this year, Basilashvili had never won a main-draw match at Indian Wells in four previous appearances.

"I have played really great matches this tournament," said Basilashvili, who is the first Georgian in a Masters 1000 semi-final since Irakli Labadze in 2004. "I was not that happy with how I played today but I was happy with how I managed my stress levels.

"First time in the quarter-finals and it is a big court and Stefanos is a super tough player. I had to keep my physical levels and energy levels in a really good shape because I knew mentally I would be a little bit tight and stressed."

 

FRITZ SAVES MATCH POINTS TO UPSET ZVEREV

Next up for Basilashvili is 31st seed Fritz, who fended off two match points to surprise Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Fritz dropped the opening set and rallied from 5-2 down in the decider as he earned his second top-five victory of his career en route to his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

"I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it," Fritz said in his on-court interview. "I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match.

"Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on."

It is the second Masters 1000 tournament of the season to feature three players in their first semi-final – Basilashvili, Fritz and Cameron Norrie – after the Miami Open.

Grigor Dimitrov continued his red-hot form with a hard-fought victory over Hubert Hurkacz at the Indian Wells Masters, where Cameron Norrie awaits in the semi-finals.

After conquering top seed Daniil Medvedev, former world number three Dimitrov recovered from a set down to upstage eighth seed Hurkacz on Thursday.

Norrie shocked 11th seed Diego Schwartzman in straight sets at the ATP 1000 tournament.

 

DIMITROV CELEBRATES MILESTONE

Bulgarian star and 23rd seed Dimitrov reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final of the season with a 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Dimitrov showed he is the comeback king once again, having also saved two break points at 3-3 in the second set.

A semi-finalist at the US Open (2019), Australian Open (2017) and Wimbledon (2014), Dimitrov then squandered a 5-2 lead in the deciding set before eventually prevailing in a tie-break for his 100th Masters 1000 victory.

 

NORRIE BOOSTS TURIN BID

Norrie's hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals in Turin received a boost after breezing past Schwartzman 6-0 6-2.

Amid a career-best season, Norrie advanced to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, with the 26-year-old to replace Daniel Evans as the new British men's number one.

Seeded 21st, Norrie – who has 45 Tour-level wins in 2021 – now has next month's Finals firmly in sight, having started the day 945 points behind ninth-placed Hurkacz in the race to Turin.

"I have been pretty consistent this year," Norrie said after 74 minutes on court. "I think I am really doing the fundamentals well on serve and return and playing the big points better.

"I have been a little more aggressive and feel I am learning more as I go along and becoming more experienced. We are really happy."

Twenty-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal has refused to put a timeline on his comeback to competitive tennis and will only return when he is in "good condition".

Nadal has not played since early August when he lost to Lloyd Harris in the third round at the Citi Open, before withdrawing from the US Open due to a recurring foot injury.

The 35-year-old Spaniard had in June pulled out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics shortly after losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals, saying he was "listening to my body".

Nadal, who will not return this season, has been seen training in Mallorca after last month receiving treatment in Barcelona, offering hope of a return.

"I want to recover from this injury in good condition," Nadal told a news conference.

"I don't know when I will play again, I work a lot every day, I follow a specific plan with a marked roadmap and with very clear objectives."

The next major on the calendar is the 2022 Australian Open to be played in Melbourne in January although Nadal would not commit to participating.

"I will not say what those objectives are, because there are always things that I can't control 100 per cent, but inside my head I'm clear on what my objectives are and I trust that things will follow a positive course," he said.

"Not everything depends on me, but I am confident that my daily efforts will pay off and allow me to return soon."

Daniil Medvedev was ousted from the Indian Wells Masters, the US Open champion and top seed stunned by former world number three Grigor Dimitrov in a thrilling comeback.

Dimitrov had been a set and a double break down against the Russian star on Wednesday, before launching a remarkable rally for his first win over a top-two opponent since 2016.

Meanwhile, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and third seed Alexander Zverev both won to secure their spots in the last eight.

 

MEDVEDEV SHOCKED IN THE DESERT

Dimitrov roared back to triumph 4-6 6-4 6-3 over Medvedev, who had won 18 of his past 19 matches on North American soil.

Bulgarian star Dimitrov trailed 4-1 in the second set after dropping the opener before stunning the first-time grand slam champion midweek.

"I just felt something at 1-4 and I calmed myself down and started to take better decisions and started to control the pace of the game, which I really believed helped me," Dimitrov – the 23rd seed – said. "In the end it was just very solid and smart play."

Dimitrov finished the match with 25 winners, while he was also excellent at the net, helping him claim his first quarter-final appearance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this season.

Medvedev sent down 5-1 aces but only managed a 54 per cent first-serve percentage, while he also faced 10 break points across the match. Dimitrov won five games in a row to claim the second set.

"I don't remember myself losing three service games, even four service games ever, I guess, on hard courts," Medvedev said.

"That shows how slow this court is and the conditions, more like clay, I would say, which I don't like, because to lose serve four times is just unacceptable."

Dimitrov will face eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals after he got past Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev 6-1 6-3.

Medvedev added: "Grigor played [the] second part of the match better than anybody did against me [at the] US Open that I won. Playing this level, I don't see him losing to anybody, but let's see the result."

 

ZVEREV MAKES STATEMENT WITH MONFILS WIN

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev bulldozed his way past 14th seed Gael Monfils 6-1-6-3 en route to the last eight.

German star Zverev claimed his 20th win from his last 21 matches, needing just over an hour to dispatch Monfils.

Zverev claimed 19 of 25 points at the net, hitting 19 winners including 11 with his forehand, while converting four of eight break points.

"I felt well on the court today. Gael is someone I haven't beaten before, so I knew had to play my best tennis and I definitely was not far away," Zverev said during his on-court interview.

Zverev will take on American 31st seed Taylor Fritz, who defeated 10th seed Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-3.

 

TSITSIPAS OUTLASTS DE MINAUR

French Open runner-up Tsitsipas saw off a tough challenge from Australian Alex de Minaur to secure his spot in the quarter-finals 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Tsitsipas fought back from a set down to win against the 22nd seed, triumphing in two hours, 43 minutes.

Greek star Tsitsipas showed grit to outlast the tiring De Minaur and will face 29th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili after he knocked off fellow seed Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

"That was incredible the way I just stayed in the match," Tsitsipas said. "I had to go through so many difficulties in order to find a solution and I executed towards the end of the match."

There were further top-10 casualties, with sixth seed Casper Ruud also bowing out 6-3 6-3 to 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, who will meet Cameron Norrie in the quarters.

Andy Murray has called for more players to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Open next year.

Unvaccinated players are expected to be allowed to compete, but are likely to have restrictions imposed on them in Melbourne.

The 34-year-old voiced his support for such restrictions, explaining that he understands why they would be put in place.

"My understanding is if you're unvaccinated you're still allowed to play, it's just the rules are going to be different," Murray said.

"You might just have to leave [for Australia] a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That's the player's choice. If the local government puts that in place then I would support that.

"It would be great if more players got vaccinated. Australia, in particular, has been very, very strict over there. The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months or whatever.

"If people are going to come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community, yeah, that's understandable."

Murray was beaten in the Indian Wells third round by Alexander Zverev, who admitted he had not been vaccinated in April, on October 12 and the German declined to take a side in the debate.

"I fully respect the decisions of players that are not vaccinated," Zverev said. "I also do respect the decision that the Australian government is giving.

"I don't want to be in the middle of something which I kind of am not involved in because I don't have that issue of the two-week quarantine, all that. I don't want to go against anybody here."

Andy Murray is looking to give his body time to recover before the end of 2021 after going down to a narrow defeat against Alexander Zverev at the Indian Wells Masters.

Third seed Zverev triumphed 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in a hard-fought third-round battle with Murray on Tuesday.

Three-time grand slam winner Murray had previously defeated Adrian Mannarino and rising star Carlos Alcaraz in California.

He then ran Zverev close, with the German saying afterwards he felt Murray had produced his best performance since returning from hip surgery.

Murray agreed there were positives to take from his run, but was again frustrated not to get a statement win, having also fallen in five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open.

The Briton may play ATP Tour events in Antwerp and Vienna over the next fortnight but is soon eyeing a break that means he will not be putting himself forward for the Davis Cup Finals, which take place over 10 days from the end of November.

Recovering some freshness and spending time with his family are on Murray's agenda ahead of the Australian Open early in 2022.

"I've given a lot to the Davis Cup, and sometimes to my own detriment physically," Murray told BBC Sport after the loss to Zverev.

"The same thing happened last time I played Davis Cup at the end of 2019. I know there was coronavirus, but I was struggling with that really up until September time the following year.

"I also don't feel right now I would be playing, either. Obviously that would be up to [Team GB captain] Leon [Smith], but I'm not sure I deserve to play in that team.

"Right now, I'm not planning on playing the Davis Cup and with the late finish to it, and early departure to Australia, with my schedule between now and the end of the year, I am going to have to rest and take a break and give my body a chance to breathe.

"And I want to make sure in the offseason I get to spend as much time with my family as I can because I have been away from that recently and that will be case when I go to Australia as well."

On the defeat to Zverev, Murray said: "The positive for me to take from it is I had opportunities again.

"I didn't feel like I played a great match and still had chances, so that's positive. But I'm disappointed because I want to be winning these matches. I haven't in the past few months."

Both players forced six break points each and fired down eight aces apiece in an even contest.

Murray broke Zverev three times across the two sets and led in each of them, but ultimately it was the world number four who progressed to book a tie with Gael Monfils in the last 16.

It was the first time Zverev had beaten Murray in three attempts and he has now triumphed against each of the Big Four, with previous wins over Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to his name.

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