Andy Murray will decide this morning whether he is up to partnering brother Jamie in the Davis Cup doubles after losing the longest match of his career.
Today’s rubber, in Glasgow, is do or die for Great Britain who now have only slim hopes of being able to defend the trophy they won in Belgium last year in November’s final.
The semi-final currently favours Argentina, with Kyle Edmund losing to Guido Pella after Murray had been bettered by Juan Martin Del Potro in the opening head to head, which went to five sets and lasted a gruelling five hours and seven minutes.
Captain Leon Smith will keep his opposite number guessing as long as he can before naming the pair who will take to the court.
The Murray brothers have won five out of five Davis Cup doubles and would be the preferred option, but the marathon yesterday means the world No 2, who made the difficult choice to play in the opener rather than join his brother at their grandfather’s funeral, has said he is not sure if he will have enough in the tank to see him through another two matches in two days.
“I’ve never played a match that long, so we’ll have to see how I am tomorrow when I wake up,” he said in the aftermath of his loss. “I will probably make a decision then. But I’ve never played a match that long. I’ve played matches close to that length – but none after an extremely long stretch of playing. So I don’t know how I’ll feel when I wake up.”
Prior to yesterday’s encounter the longest he had spent on court was four hours 54 minutes, in the epic 2012 US Open final tussle with Novak Djokovic. Del Potro’s record was four hours 43 minutes, at Wimbledon in 2013.
“Yeah, it was tough,” said Murray. “I don’t know if it was a factor at the end. Both of us were pretty tired at the end. Both of us were going to be tired after that.”
Happy with the way he played despite losing his first ever home Davis Cup rubber, Murray insisted there had been very little between the players.
“I mean, it’s very fine margins. That happens in tennis, happens in sport sometimes. It could have gone either way.
“He just played a little bit better in the fifth set. But there wasn’t much difference in the match, really. I’m very proud of how I played. I thought I did fantastic. I fought for every point, tried as best as I could. That’s all you can do. So I did great.
“Doubles is always a tough match and if I recover OK, I’ll be the favourite to win the match on the Sunday [as well]. There’s no reason why Kyle or Dan [Evans] couldn’t push Juan hard. After the match we’ve had today I don’t know whether he will play tomorrow, either. We’ll have to wait and see how the weekend plays out.”
It was a draining match in front of an exuberant crowd, with Del Potro, who had run Murray so close in the Olympic final in Rio, showing the quality that had earned him a grand slam title and a world ranking of four before wrist injuries curtailed his career.
He admitted that he was unsure if he would take to court in this afternoon’s doubles. “I’m so tired. I’ve got cramps everywhere. I think it was the longest match of my career and I won it against Andy, playing here, it’s very special for me – and also the way of my tennis. I think we both played for five hours at a very high level,” he said.
“I will try to recover as well and as fast as I can but it’s not going to be easy.”