Lloyd seeks David Cup commitment from Murray

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The Independent Online

Great Britain captain John Lloyd will seek confirmation from Andy Murray that he is willing to play in the Davis Cup tie against Ukraine.

The British team will host the Europe/Africa Zone Group I tie on May 8-10 next year after being matched against the former Soviet state during today's draw in Madrid.



Murray's involvement is crucial if Britain are to secure an immediate return to the elite World Group level.



The world number four expressed his commitment to the team after the weekend's 3-2 defeat by Austria, a result which ensured relegation to the Davis Cup's second tier.



But he was disillusioned by the performances of his team-mates, most notably Alex Bogdanovic who lost both his matches including the decisive rubber against Alexander Peya.



Bogdanovic's surrender after making a promising start - he has yet to win a live Davis Cup rubber in six attempts - once again exposed the lack of depth in British tennis.



The nation's second-best player faces a bleak future in the competition while the doubles pairing of Jamie Murray and Ross Hutchins also came up short.



The result has increased pressure on team captain John Lloyd, who drew criticism for his decision not to select Andy Murray to play in Saturday's doubles.



Disappointing attendance figures throughout the tie and team morale have also been questioned.



The most urgent task facing Lloyd is to convince Murray, who reached the final of the US Open earlier this month, to play for Britain next year.



Murray's overriding ambition is to build on his success at Flushing Meadows by winning his first Grand Slam, enabling him to break into the world's top three.



The tie against Ukraine will come in the middle of the clay-court season and the 21-year-old Scot's body struggles with the transition between surfaces.



And while clay is his least favourite surface, he may view the Davis Cup as an unwelcome distraction as he attempts to reel in Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.



Ukraine are ranked 41st in the world, 17 places lower than Britain, with their top player Sergiy Stakhovsky rated 83 in the singles standings.



In terms of depth they are worse off than their opponents next year, with Ilia Marchenko the world number 213 and Sergei Bubka ranked at 285.



Lloyd said: "This is definitely a match we are capable of winning.



"Stakhovsky is a good young player who is on the up and can play well on any surface, but I think this is a good draw for us.



"Now it's time for us to do a bit of research on what is the best surface for the players.



"I'll spend some time studying the results of their players over the last year and start thinking about where we're going to play.



"We beat them last time when we had to travel away so I'm confident that we will be able to do it again."



Murray beat Stakhovsky in straight sets when Britain dispatched Ukraine three years ago and his ongoing involvement is Lloyd's top priority.



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