Tennis: Rise for Rusedski despite defeat

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The Independent Online
DESPITE losing to Chile's Marcelo Rios in the final of the ATP Champions' Cup in Indian Wells, Greg Rusedski, the British No 1, is pleased with his start to the new season.

"It has been a positive start to the season so far. I was just one match from getting into the top three in the world and it puts me into striking distance of the top players.

"I'm only a few points behind them so it's a positive thing. If I have a good week I can actually move into the top three.''

Although he lost 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 on Sunday, Rusedski managed to climb a place, to five, in the rankings, but his British compatriot Tim Henman dropped from 19 to 20.

Henman, who lost in the first round, slipped a place because Austrian Thomas Muster reached the semi-finals of the same tournament. Muster rose from 21 to 17.

Meanwhile Rusedski and Henman will lead the British challenge in the Davis Cup tie against Ukraine in the Euro/African Zone Group One at Newcastle from 3 to 5 April.

David Lloyd, the British captain, has nominated five players - Rusedski, Henman, Andrew Richardson, Neil Broad and Arvind Parmar - from whom the final team of four will be chosen.

Parmar, the 19-year-old Hertfordshire prospect, is likely to stand down but he will have useful experience with the squad.

Lloyd also has to decide whether to play Rusedski and Henman in the doubles as well as the singles. Broad is a doubles specialist but may not be chosen if the tie is close.

Britain met Ukraine in Kiev last July and only won 3-2 after Rusedski and Henman had both lost to Andrei Medvedev.