A month of injury, illness and frustration ended in more disappointment for Andy Murray yesterday. Not only did the British No 1 fail to make it on to court on the final day of the Davis Cup defeat to Serbia and Montenegro but he also learned that his abuse of the umpire on the previous day had cost his team a fine of $2,500 (£1,400) for "unsportsmanlike behaviour".
Murray, whose recovery from a high fever had come too late for him to play in Friday's singles, teamed up with Greg Rusedski against Nenad Zimonjic and Ilia Bozoljac in Saturday's doubles. They lost 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 after being angered by a crucial line call in the first game of the fourth set.
Rusedski, down 30-40 on his serve, chose to leave a shot by Zimonjic which was called "in" by the line judge. While Rusedski said he bet Adel Aref, the umpire, £1m that replays would show the ball was long, Murray was less diplomatic. At the end of the match he told Aref he was "a fucking useless umpire", a comment which was picked up by BBC microphones.
"I told the umpire how bad he was during the match," Murray said afterwards. "It's a tough one because you see footballers swearing after every single foul that gets given or every time the ref makes a bad decision.
"I swore at the umpire [and they have] a microphone just below the umpire's chair. I would have preferred everyone not to hear it, but that's what happens in sport sometimes when you get angry."
Jeremy Bates, the British captain, said yesterday that he had discussed the incident with Murray but would not reveal what he had said. Rusedski, however, defended his colleague.
"You have to take into account he is 18," Rusedski said. "He's made a mistake at the end of the match, which all of us have. I've sworn at Wimbledon, used every bad word you can possibly imagine on Centre Court.
"He has already accomplished so much. He's going in the right direction but he's going to have a few difficult moments.
"He'll get over them and he learns from things. He is very mature in a lot of respects. I think it's another learning experience for him. Let's not be too critical of him. Let him move on."
Since beating Vasilis Mazarakis in Indian Wells a month ago Murray has played only two singles matches, losing to Nikolay Davydenko in the next round and then going down to Stanislas Wawrinka in Miami.
Recovering from an ankle injury sustained in the latter match, he then fell ill with a bacterial infection last weekend and was still feeling well below his best in Saturday's doubles. He would have played if necessary in the final singles yesterday but Rusedski's defeat to Novak Djokovic meant it was a dead rubber.Reuse content