Andy Murray will miss Great Britain’s Davis Cup tie against Russia at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on 5-7 April to focus on the clay season.
The Australian Open finalist has decided to concentrate on his weakest surface after the hard court tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami have been completed in March.
Murray is determined to make inroads into the advantage main rivals Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have traditionally enjoyed on clay. However, the 25-year-old reigning US Open and Olympic champion will participate in the next Davis Cup tie in September.
“It’s a shame to miss out on the Davis Cup, as I always enjoy playing,” world No 3 Murray said. “I speak to [Great Britain captain] Leon Smith and the team on a regular basis and will definitely be available to play the next Davis Cup tie.”
The clay season begins in Casablanca on 8 April and climaxes with the French Open at Roland Garros where Murray’s best performance was his semi-final defeat by Nadal in 2011.
Smith said: “We totally understand Andy’s position. He has worked extremely hard on his game, elevating it to another level and we have all seen the fruits of that since Wimbledon. Andy’s success continues to inspire more and more young people to take up the sport and we look forward to welcoming him back into the team in September.”
If Great Britain upset Russia, who have four players inside the top 100 of the world rankings, they will progress to the 16-nation World Group play-offs from 13 to 15 September.
“It will be tough against Russia, who are arguably the strongest team in our group, but we’ll give it our best shot,” said Smith.
Jamie Baker is likely to be the team’s No 1 with James Ward, Josh Goodall and Dan Evans competing for the other singles spot. Colin Fleming and Jonny Marray are a potential doubles pairing.