The Echo Arena in Liverpool and the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open are an ocean apart in more than one respect, but Andy Murray's thoughts are already turning to Britain's Davis Cup tie against Poland on Merseyside later this month.
Not long after his first-round victory over Ernests Gulbis here in the main arena in the small hours of yesterday morning, the 22-year-old Scot was named in a provisional six-man squad for a tie vital to Britain's Davis Cup future. John Lloyd's team must win to avoid relegation to Group Two of the Europe Africa Zone, which includes the likes of Georgia, Lithuania and Monaco. Britain last played at that level 13 years ago.
Injuries and difficult scheduling have seen Murray miss two of Britain's last three matches. This tie starts on 18 September, only five days after the US Open final, but Murray insisted: "I love playing Davis Cup. I really, really enjoy it. It comes at tricky times of the year, but while I'm fit and healthy I will play as much as I can. If I feel I'll risk myself, I won't play, but I'm planning on playing."
The British squad will eventually be reduced to four players, with the main question being the identity of the second singles player alongside Murray, who is set to partner Ross Hutchins in the doubles. Hutchins, who with his partner, Stephen Huss, suffered a disappointing first-round defeat here to Olivier Rochus and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, is the world No 37 in doubles.
Ken Skupski, another doubles specialist, is in the provisional squad primarily as a practice partner, with James Ward (world No 203), Josh Goodall (No 249) and 19-year-old Dan Evans (No 309) competing for the remaining singles spot.
"I want Dan Evans to play the second singles," Murray said. "We need to start looking to the future. He's a good player and talented. I don't know him that well, but he needs to grow up mentally, which I needed to do at that age as well. Davis Cup is the perfect way of doing that. You will see after one or two matches whether he likes that atmosphere or not and I think he will. I can't wait to play with him and get used to the future and get a team spirit."
Lloyd is understandably delighted to have Murray on board. "This is a big match for us," he said. "Right from when the draw was made he said that he was going to play."
For the moment Murray's focus will be on his second-round match here tomorrow against Chile's Paul Capdeville. Even though other results have opened up the draw for Murray – Ivo Karlovic and Stanislas Wawrinka, who were potential third- and fourth-round opponents respectively, are both out – the world No 2 knows the danger of getting ahead of himself. Murray trained with 26-year-old Capdeville, the world No 87, at the Sanchez-Casal academy in Barcelona and says he is a player who "does everything well".
Much the same could have been said of Murray during his 7-5, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Gulbis. He generally played within himself, knowing that the big-hitting Latvian would make plenty of mistakes, although Murray himself suffered occasional lapses of concentration, such as dropping his serve to love when leading 4-2 in the second set.
Murray also had to cope with the courtside presence of Brad Gilbert, his former coach, who is commentating for television and interviewed his former charge after the match.
The Scot was later asked about Gilbert's comment that, two years ago, he would have been screaming at his coach if he had dropped his serve to love. When did Murray's attitude change? "Soon after I stopped working with Brad," Murray said. "I didn't enjoy travelling with one coach. I found it stressful. There was a lot of bickering and it carried on to the court. When I started with Brad, it was fine but after a while, I felt quite tired. I wasn't enjoying it. I enjoy working with the guys I'm with now and there's no point getting angry."
The ranking of Murray's next opponent at the US Open, Paul Capdeville.Reuse content