Bogdanovic claims Davis Cup spot after series of flops

Alex Bogdanovic is such a regular at the last chance saloon that his drink is probably poured the moment he enters the door. John Lloyd might have preferred to call last orders on his great underachiever long ago, but such is the dearth of talent at his disposal that Britain's Davis Cup captain yesterday named the world No 172 as his second singles player for next month's World Group relegation play-off against Austria at Wimbledon.

Britain's fate will rest in the hands of Bogdanovic and Andy Murray, who will play the singles rubbers, and Jamie Murray and Ross Hutchins, two doubles specialists. Lloyd will keep his options open on his doubles pairing, with Hutchins and the Murray brothers all in contention, but has firmly put his faith in Bogdanovic in the singles. Having contemplated naming a six-man squad, he will instead bring in two juniors as practice partners.

Austria's singles players are likely to be Jurgen Melzer, the world No 48, who plays Andy Murray here today in the third round of the US Open, and Alexander Peya, the world No 92. Melzer will also pair up with Julian Knowle, who is ranked world No 10 in doubles. Presuming that Andy Murray wins his two singles – by no means a foregone conclusion – and given that the Austrians will probably be marginal favourites in the doubles, Lloyd will probably need Bogdanovic to win one of his rubbers.

The 24-year-old's natural talent has long been recognised, but he has repeatedly failed to rise to the big occasion. Bogdanovic has had wild cards at the last seven Wimbledons and lost in the first round on each occasion, while he has not won a set in four live Davis Cup rubbers. Against Argentina in Buenos Aires six months ago he took only five games off Agustin Calleri.

Having been on the brink of the world's top 100 a year ago, Bogdanovic recently fell as low as No 271 in the rankings. He has been working this year with Brad Gilbert following the American coach's split with Andy Murray and his results have shown some improvement of late. Last month he won a Challenger tournament in Canada.

"He's fired up, he wants to play, he wants to go out and show what he can do," Lloyd said. "We think that he can play well in Davis Cup. He's had a few experiences that he hasn't enjoyed as much as we would have liked him to, but we think he can change that around."

Jamie Baker is still recovering from a serious blood disorder, while Lloyd rejected the claims of Josh Goodall (world No 198) and Richard Bloomfield (289). Chris Eaton, who, as the world No 661, beat a player ranked 547 places above him when he knocked out Boris Pashanski in the first round at Wimbledon, came as close as anyone to dislodging Bogdanovic.

Lloyd will be watching closely as his leading man takes on Melzer here today. Murray won in three sets in their only previous meeting, at Indian Wells earlier this year. "He's a tough guy to play against and doesn't give you too much rhythm," Murray said. "But I feel like I'm playing well just now. I'm confident and I look forward to the match."

Melzer described Murray as "very dangerous" and added: "He's very different from many of the other players on the tour. When the ball is your side of the court, his body language suggests that he does not have much energy. But when the ball is his side, he bursts into action and covers the court extremely well. He is a classic counter-puncher. He tries to make you fall asleep by playing lots of very long rallies. Hopefully, I won't fall asleep against him."

"We had a close match earlier this year, but I still believe I have the game to beat him. I have to serve very well as he's one of the best returners in the game. That could be the key. I think I can do it."

In theory, Murray's seeding here will see him face Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round and David Ferrer in the quarter-finals, the winner to face Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

Nadal, who has been beaten only once in his last 41 matches, looked tired and drawn in his first match but swept into the third round with the minimum of fuss on Thursday night, beating the American qualifier Ryler DeHeart 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. The new world No 1, who won the Olympic title in Beijing only 13 days ago, prepared for this tournament by playing golf. "I forgot a little bit about tennis," he said.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial