British No. 1 Andy Murray has confirmed his participation in the first round of the Davis Cup World Group stage, which begins later this month. Murray will be taking part in both the singles and doubles rubbers against the USA, making him an integral part of the British team.
Murray’s last professional contests before his surgery took place in the Davis Cup tie in Umag, where he also took part in the singles and doubles ties and led his team to the World Group for the first time since 2008. The 4-1 victory in the series was bittersweet for Murray, as the chronic pain in his back grew to the point where he opted for surgery and was forced onto the sidelines until the end of the year.
Now, back in the World Group, Britain will meet the USA, who hold a 11-7 head-to-head dating back to 1900, in the first round tie in San Jose.
“We’re relishing the opportunity to compete in the world group once again, and I’m delighted that Andy is able to play in the tie,” Smith told The Guardian. “This will be a huge step up for us against what will be a very strong US team. I’ve had to take into account a number of factors with regards to team selection, including the surface we’ll play on, and we’ll now spend the next week making sure the team are prepared in the best possible way to give us our best chance of getting the win.”
One of the more interesting decisions Smith took was to leave British No. 2 Daniel Evans off the squad. The decision was made after Evans refused to take part in a Challenger tournament in Hawaii before the Davis Cup, which was intended to give him a much-needed warm-up for the event.
“The biggest factor in the decision [to leave out Evans] was the clay surface. If it was indoors or on hard he would have been in there behind Andy for sure. Kyle and James being active this week in tournaments was a factor. Dan decided not to play this week, that was his decision.
The best-of-five match series will be played on a temporary clay court in left field at Petco Park from 31 January to 2 February.