Britain without two best players for Davis Cup tie with Belgium


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The Independent Online

Britain will go into their Davis Cup tie against Belgium in Glasgow on Friday without their two leading singles players.

Following Andy Murray's decision not to make himself available, James Ward withdrew today with a back injury. He has been replaced by 26-year-old Josh Goodall, who has been training with the team this week at the Braehead Arena.

Ward, the world No 154, has become an important part of the British team, winning seven of his 11 rubbers. Goodall, the world No 253, lost both his rubbers on his only previous appearance, against Ukraine in Glasgow three years ago. The prize for the winners of this weekend's Europe Africa Zone Group One tie is a place in a play-off in September for a place in the elite World Group.

Leon Smith, Britain's captain, said: "It's a shame for James, because he was hitting really well in training, but Josh is more than capable of stepping up for this tie. He's got Davis Cup experience here, he's motivated and he's playing really well right now."

The other members of the British team are Dan Evans (world No 334), who will be the second singles player, and Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins, who are No 25 and No 30 respectively in the world doubles rankings. Belgium's singles players are likely to be Olivier Rochus (world No 59) and Steve Darcis (No 68), with David Goffin (No 112) and Ruben Bemelmans (No 145) completing the squad.