Tennis: Lloyd must reconcile Henman and Rusedski

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DAVID LLOYD, Britain's Davis Cup captain, will endeavour to bring a smile back to the often quoted "friendly rivalry" between Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman, which has become rather strained in recent weeks, writes John Roberts.

Lloyd intends to speak to both players during the Guardian Direct Cup in Battersea Park this week, emphasising the importance of the team ethic to the nation's cause. Rusedski and Henman are due to join forces in Newcastle in the first week of April for a Davis Cup tie against Ukraine, the winners qualifying for a World Group play off in September.

Another team competition, the ATP Tour World Team Championship in Dusseldorf in May, has triggered the differences between the top two Britons. Rusedski has expressed disappointment at Henman's decision to forego the event, which takes place on clay courts during the week leading up to the French Open in Paris, without consulting him first.

It is the first time that Britain have qualified for the World Team Championship, the eight nations for which are invited according to world rankings. Not as important as its title implies, the World Team Championship is used by many players to help prepare for the French Open.

Lloyd, while acknowledging that there is no rule stipulating that players have to like each other, is keen to improve the current level of communication between Rusedski and Henman.

"The way to resolve any problems is to sit down and talk things out," Lloyd said. "Obviously things have got to be sorted out. The bottom line is we have a very important tie in five weeks' time. My job is to get everyone back together for that job, and its better to have a happy team than an unhappy one."