Slovaks are step up for GB team without Murray

 

The Scottish influence is usually such that you half-expect Britain's Davis Cup team to go on court wearing kilts, but the two most famous players from north of Hadrian's Wall will be notable by their absence for the tie against Slovakia at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow this weekend.

Andy Murray, the world No 4, is resting after his exertions at last month's Australian Open, while his brother, Jamie, was overlooked, with captain Leon Smith instead opting for the established doubles team of Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins.

Smith is fully supportive of the younger Murray's decision to miss the tie – "It's important that when he can let himself rest and regenerate and then train up for the rest of the season that he does that" – but his absence could be crucial.

This is Britain's first match following promotion back to Europe Africa Zone Group One, effectively the Davis Cup's second division, and their opponents are significantly stronger than Tunisia, Luxembourg and Hungary, the teams they beat last year.

The Slovakians have an edge in terms of world rankings. Their singles players are Lukas Lacko (world No 65) and Martin Klizan (120), who will take on James Ward (158) and Dan Evans (276). The doubles team of Filip Polasek (No 21 in doubles) and Michal Mertinak (61), who have won 20 titles on the ATP circuit, face Fleming (28) and Hutchins (37), who have won just six.

Ward has won seven of his nine Davis Cup rubbers and should feel encouraged by his performances last month in Melbourne. Evans has lost all four of his previous rubbers but has had a useful start to the year, winning a Futures tournament last month and successfully negotiating three rounds in qualifying for Zagreb last week.

"At this level there are very strong tennis nations with good strength in depth, and it's what we aspire to so it's important that, with or without Andy, we get a chance to play against them," Smith said. "We can win it but it's going to be very tough."

Programme (British names first): Today (3pm): D Evans v L Lacko; J Ward v M Klizan. Tomorrow (1pm): C Fleming and R Hutchins v F Polasek and M Mertinak. Sunday (1pm): Ward v Lacko; Evans v Klizan.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea