Britain look to brothers for Davis Cup showdown
Sunday 14 September 2008
Twelve months ago the retiring Tim Henman was the focus as Britain beat Croatia at Wimbledon to secure their return to the Davis Cup's elite World Group. As John Lloyd's team head for the All England Club for next weekend's relegation play-off against Austria, all eyes will be on Andy Murray.
Not only will it be the first chance for British fans to salute the 21-year-old Scot following his glorious American summer, but it is also his first appearance for his country since he played a supporting role to Henman last year. Murray missed the defeat away to Argentina in February, having pulled out for fear of aggravating his long-term knee problem.
His return is crucial. The tie, which will decide who stays in the World Group next year and who is relegated to the Europe/ Africa Zone, looks closely balanced. Even if Murray plays to form and wins his two singles rubbers against Jürgen Melzer (a rematch of their five-set thriller in the US Open a fortnight ago) and Alexander Peya, the third victory Britain will need is likelyto be much harder to come by.
Alex Bogdanovic, Lloyd's second singles player, has repeatedly frozen on the big occasion, having never won a live Davis Cup rubber or a match at Wimbledon, where he has been given wild cards for the past seven years in succession.
The doubles may prove decisive. The Austrians have a well-established pair in Melzer (world No 36 in doubles) and Julian Knowle (No 15), while Britain will probably turn to the Murray brothers. Jamie (No 33) is a proven specialist, but while Lloyd believes Andy would be a top 10 doubles player if he played more often, they have not always been a successful pairing.
Ross Hutchins, who partnered Andy at the US Open, is the other option Lloyd has up his sleeve.
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