Murray receives summons to Davis Cup history

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The Independent Online

In a setting reminiscent of an old-fashioned English garden party at the British ambassador's residence here yesterday, Andrew Murray was primed to become Britain's youngest-ever Davis Cup player at the age of 17 years and 294 days.

In a setting reminiscent of an old-fashioned English garden party at the British ambassador's residence here yesterday, Andrew Murray was primed to become Britain's youngest-ever Davis Cup player at the age of 17 years and 294 days.

The US Open junior champion from Dunblane was selected to play doubles against Israel alongside David Sherwood, a 24-year-old from Sheffield, who was also called to make his debut in the Euro-African Zone tie, which starts tomorrow.

There is neat symmetry in Murray's promotion, because, as a callow hopeful, Tim Henman, made his first appearance in the Davis Cup doubles in 1994. Henman's partner for that tie against Romania at Didsbury, Manchester, was Jeremy Bates, now the non-playing captain.

Bates's decision to blood Murray in Saturday's doubles rather than pitch him into the singles is a sensible one, particularly as Alex Bogdanovic, the 20-year-old British No 3, is not only more experienced at this level but has also worked hard to gain favour with the Lawn Tennis Association, who stopped his funding for a period last year because they were not pleased by his attitude.

Fortunately for Bates, Greg Rusedski continues to support the cause in Henman's absence, and he will open the tie tomorrow against Harel Levy, Israel's No 2. Bogdanovic will then play their No 1, Noam Okun.

If the results of the first day's matches are disappointing, it is possible that Bates will include Rusedski in the doubles team against the strong Israel pairing of Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich, winners of the recent ATP Tour event in Rotterdam. "That's always an option," Rusedski said, "but I'm 31. I'm looking forward to playing singles on Friday and reverse singles [against Okun] on Sunday."

Murray is happy to make his first appearance in the doubles. "I think it's a good way to start," he said, "because there's not as much expectation on us to win in that match."

Bates emphasised that Bogdanovic had been selected for the singles on merit, not because Arvind Parmar withdrew from the squad because of injury. "I came here with five players, with three guys in contention to play the second singles," he said. "Alex has performed very well."

DAVIS CUP, EURO-AFRICAN ZONE, ISRAEL v BRITAIN (Tel Aviv):

Tomorrow (11am GMT); Harel Levy v Greg Rusedski, followed by Noam Okun v Alex Bogdanovic.

Saturday: Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich v Andrew Murray and David Sherwood.

Sunday: Okun v Rusedski, Levy v Bogdanovic.

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