Greg Rusedski pulled out of Britain's Davis Cup team because of an injury to his left foot yesterday, just as Tim Henman was testing his damaged right shoulder by hitting balls for the first time since the United States Open.
At best, a less than 100 per cent fit Henman will be joined by Martin Lee, ranked No 106, in the quest to keep Britain in the World Group. They must defeat Thailand, who have one top-class player, the 31-ranked Paradorn Srichaphan, in the qualifying round tie in Birmingham, starting on Friday.
Arvind Parmar, who lost his nerve after taking a two sets to love against Giovanni Lapentti when deputising for Rusedski in the deciding rubber against Ecuador at Wimbledon in 2000, stands by in case Henman's shoulder breaks down. Miles Maclagan, a 28-year-old who was born in Zambia to Scottish parents, has been recalled to the squad. Maclagan lost his only "live" Davis Cup rubber to Karol Kucera, of Slovakia, in 1995, shortly before the Canadian-born Rusedski was recruited to the British cause.
Rusedski said he first felt pain in his left foot after losing to Pete Sampras in five sets in the third round of the US Open, adding that the injury had no bearing on the result.
"I'm very disappointed that I am unable to play in Birmingham," Rusedski said. "This is due to an inflammation of the retro calacaneal bursa in my left foot. I have sought advice from my consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Mr John Nixon, and Dr Michael Turner, for the Lawn Tennis Association. Their conclusive diagnosis is that I need to take a minimum of two weeks rest and undertake intensive physiotherapy treatment every day. I wish the team all the best and believe they can win this tie."
Rusedski had a problem with his right foot in 1999, resulting in surgery to remove a cyst.
* John McEnroe and Pat Cash head the entry list for this season's Honda Challenge at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The December event marks the end of the Delta Tour of Champions and Cash and McEnroe will be joined by a host of former greats, including Petr Korda, Guy Forget and Ilie Nastase.
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