Leon Smith believes Andy Murray could be paying the price of his efforts to get to world No 1.
The 29-year-old has been ruled out of Great Britain’s Davis Cup quarter-final against France next weekend by the elbow injury that forced him to miss the Miami Open.
Team captain Smith has instead named Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund, Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot as the GB quartet who will travel to Rouen for the last-eight tie from 7-9 April. Murray had been hoping to pick up where he left off following a spectacular finish to last season but 2017 so far has not gone to plan.
After a gruelling winter training camp, Murray appeared jaded at the Australian Open and his fourth-round loss was followed by a diagnosis of shingles.
The Scot returned to action by winning a title in Dubai but then came the elbow injury, along with a virus, and his withdrawal from Miami.
Smith said: “Obviously he’s had a few things with shingles and now this. There’s no doubt he played unbelievably well last year, especially the second half of the year, with so much tennis that maybe the effects of that are taking place.
“But it’s bad luck as well isn’t it. He’s in great shape. He’s a healthy guy, looks after himself as well as anybody.”
There has as yet been no official update from the Murray camp on the nature of his injury or a timescale for recovery but his brother Jamie revealed at the weekend that he had a “tear” in
Murray’s next tournament is scheduled to be the Monte Carlo Masters, starting on 16 April, or if that comes too soon then it is six weeks until the Madrid Open. The good news is that Murray has a significant cushion at the top of the rankings thanks to Novak Djokovic’s struggles but Roger Federer could soon be putting pressure on.
Smith said: “I’ve said before, and it is genuine, it’s more important that he is healthy for the full season rather than trying to rush back for this, but it’s not an option anyway.
“He needs to take some time and get ready for Monte Carlo. He’s had his injuries before so he knows how to handle it.”
France are also missing star names; with Gael Monfils injured, Richard Gasquet recovering from an appendix operation and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga spending time with his newborn son.
But they still have two top-25 players to call on in Lucas Pouille and Gilles Simon, while Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert are the reigning Wimbledon