Bates delighted as Rusedski stays loyal to Davis cause

It was poetry to Jeremy Bates' ears yesterday when Greg Rusedski recited his itinerary for the weeks ahead: ATP Tour events in Marseilles, Rotterdam and Dubai - followed by Britain's Davis Cup tie in Israel.

It was poetry to Jeremy Bates' ears yesterday when Greg Rusedski recited his itinerary for the weeks ahead: ATP Tour events in Marseilles, Rotterdam and Dubai - followed by Britain's Davis Cup tie in Israel.

After due consideration, the 31-year-old Rusedski decided not to follow Tim Henman, 30, into early retirement from the national cause. "I am delighted," said Bates, Britain's captain. "Having a world-class player like Greg is invaluable to the squad, not only in terms of his matchplay ability but also the experience he can impart on the younger members of the team."

Rusedski put his decision on hold during last month's Australian Open after Henman announced his intention to concentrate on Tour events. "If Tim had been playing, I would be playing," Rusedski said at the time. "Now this puts a whole new slant on Davis Cup for me."

Having partnered Henman for 10 years in virtually a two-man team, the Canadian-born Rusedski knew how difficult it was likely to be as the only player in the world's top 50 in a squad of novices. Yesterday, Rusedski said: "I thought about it on the flight back from Australia and realised I still enjoy Davis Cup, I still want to play for Great Britain, and I want to work with the younger players like Alex Bogdanovic, Andrew Murray and Andrew Banks.

"I'm looking to commit myself as long as I'm enjoying myself. It was bound to happen that Tim and I would reach the point of deciding whether or not to continue. It was just a matter of time. I started in the team in 1995, Tim in 1994.

"I'm quite excited to see the younger players fighting for the second singles and wondering who is going to step up and be part of the doubles team."

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